The reason for this electro-chemical connection between learning and drugs of reward is that our brains have obviously been designed to find learning fun.
One of the many negative things about the misconception that education is about transmitting content is the idea that any fun you have is taking time away from proper learning, and that ‘proper learning’ shouldn’t be fun.
In lots of teaching situations we focus on the right and wrong answers to things, which is a venerable paradigm for learning, but not the only one.
There is a less structured, curiosity-driven, paradigm which focusses not on what is absolutely right or wrong, but instead on what is surprising.
This is how most of us see learning and development.
That’s because the approach to training hasn’t evolved since Churchill was yawning at the back of a classroom. If the experience is fun, learners will stay curious and keep coming back for more. That’s not just a sneaking suspicion – it’s cold, hard, scientific fact.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the reason addictive drugs are addictive is that they hack the reward circuitry that dopamine is intimately involved in.
Perhaps the most addictive drug, cocaine, directly increases the amount of dopamine at work in your brain.
A problem with rights and wrongs is that, for some people, the pressure of being correct gets in the way of experiencing what actually is.
You can try this for yourself, either in any teaching you do, or any learning.