Ep. 170 – Motivation Enhances Learning

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Welcome to the Train Your Brain Podcast Episode number 170. Dr. Trayford’s brain training tip for today is that motivation enhances learning. If you want your brain to be engaged or if you want to capture the imagination of a child in order to get them excited about learning then heed this tip! Find something that they will be motivated about. They will learn better if the material is something that interests them. Thanks for listening!

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How motivation enhances the learning process is a critical concept worthy of exploring. You might have noticed with your children if they’re not interested in a particular topic, they tend not to do as well.

Many different avenues of science have been looking at the different ways learning can be enhanced. The website education.com has an article titled “How Motivation Effects Learning and Behavior” by J.E. Ormrod. It was updated on April 30th 2014.

If you want your brain to work better, you put them onto a task they are motivated to do. Even in my clinical practice someone needs to be motivated in order to change. It’s such an active and engaged process that they have to dedicate themselves to their particular method, rather than simply doing it because a friend or loved one has encouraged them to simply give it a try.

In the 1980’s and 90’s there was a tremendous amount of research done on the topic.

Motivation affects behavior towards particular goals. If you’re just blindly doing a task, there’s not much brain stimulation happening. Certain parts of the brain might be active, but it’s usually only towards putting the minimum amount of effort towards the task at hand.

When there’s an association towards a specific goal, then you start to tap into your motivational networks and you start to improve production of things like dopamine, which is pleasurable and feels rewarding, which keeps you reaching toward that next level.

There were also many papers published in the mid-to-late 80’s and early 90’s that looked at how motivation leads to an increased amount of energy.

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