Respected Neurologist Explains the Mechanics of Video Games in Education

Judy WillisDr. Judy Willis MD is a respected authority on brain research regarding learning and the brain. In a recent and very interesting post on the edutopia website, she explains:

The popularity of video games is not the enemy of education, but rather a model for best teaching strategies. Games insert players at their achievable challenge level and reward player effort and practice with acknowledgement of incremental goal progress, not just final product. The fuel for this process is the pleasure experience related to the release of dopamine.

Dopamine Motivation

The human brain, much like that of most mammals, has hardwired physiological responses that had survival value at some point in evolutionary progression. The dopamine-reward system is fueled by the brain’s recognition of making a successful prediction, choice, or behavioral response.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that, when released in higher than usual amounts, goes beyond the synapse and flows to other regions of the brain producing a powerful pleasure response. This is a deep satisfaction, such as quenching a long thirst. After making a prediction, choice, or action, and receiving feedback that it was correct, the reward from the release of dopamine prompts the brain seek future opportunities to repeat the action. For animal survival, this promotes life or species-sustaining choices and behaviors, such as following a new scent that leads to a mate or a meal and remembering that scent the next time it is present.

The full article can be found here, a highly recommended read not just related to the gamification of education but as a foundation to understanding the basic physiological/neurological structure behind game mechanics.


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2 Responses to Respected Neurologist Explains the Mechanics of Video Games in Education

  1. Pingback: Gamification and Motivation 3.0 | Gametuned - Gamification Solutions

  2. Jewel says:

    Thanks a lot for trying to explain the terminlogy towards the novices!

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