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When the brain comes into play: Neurofunctional correlates of emotions and reward in game-based learning
journal contributionposted on 05.07.2021, 13:16 by Simon Greipl, Elise Klein, Antero Lindstedt, Kristian Kiili, Korbinian Moeller, Hans-Otto Karnath, Julia Bahnmueller, Johannes Bloechle, Manuel Ninaus
Accumulating evidence identifies emotions as drivers of effective learning. In parallel, game-based learning was found to emotionally engage learners, allegedly harnessing the fundamental tie between emotions and cognition. Questioning further whether and how game-based learning elicit emotional processes, the current fMRI study examined the neurofunctional correlates of game-based learning by directly comparing a game-based and a non-game-based version of a digital learning task. We evaluated neurofunctional activation patterns within a comprehensive set of brain areas involved in emotional and reward processes (e.g. amygdala or ventral tegmental area) when participants received feedback. With only a few exceptions, decoding of these brain areas’ activation patterns indicated predominantly stronger relative activation in the game-based task version. As such, our results substantiate on a neurofunctional level that game-based learning leads to an invigoration of learning processes through processes of reward and emotional engagement.
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