Paul Howard-Jones studies the effect of gaming and gambling on the brain, and tells Sarah Montague how they can be used in teaching to make more effective learners.
Most parents will have witnessed the magnetic effect of computer games on children. The combination of skill, memory and risk, leading to an eventual prize, can engage people of any age for hours at a time.
Paul Howard-Jones is a psychologist specialising in education and neuroscience. He tells Sarah Montague why a better understanding of what makes games so compelling, could lead to more effective teaching.
Research suggests that combining a reward with an element of risk-taking can increase the brain's appetite for learning and success.
In classrooms this could mean pupils collecting a running score, as they would in a game, then risking some of their points on a chance outcome, such as a roulette wheel spin.
Paul also discusses research into sleep, memory, and transcranial electrical stimulation - putting a low voltage across the scalp - and the impact these things have on our ability to learn.
Presenter: Sarah Montague
Producer: Joel Moors.