Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Pleasure of Learning

[Sorry about the long gap — random attacks of Real Life conspired with some Internet service problems to keep me offline more than I wanted.]


For years all those unschooling skeptics have ranted on about how kids won't learn anything if you don't make them. We unschooling advocates all have our anecdotal evidence of how our kids can't seem to stop themselves from learning, but it looks as though neuroscience has a bit to offer, too:

Neuroscientists have proposed a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix.

The “click” of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances, said Irving Biederman, professor of neuroscience in USC College, who presents his theory in an invited article in the latest issue of American Scientist.

You know, I get an odd sensation of pleasure learning about how learning can give you a sensation of pleasure . . .

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