What Haunted Houses Can Teach Us About Adult Learning Design

by Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer, Sententia Gamification

“It’s not gross; it’s slime.” the goblin kept saying as he touched our faces with something while we were bottle-necked in a dark, tight hallway. We were a group of undergrads giggling through our fear and creeps. And we paid what for us was good money for the experience. 

It’s odd that of all that happened during my undergrad years, the memories of that haunted house are vivid and specific. 

This is because of the amygdala, our brain’s early alarm system. Thy amygdala sits behind the eye and over our ear, and we have one on each side of our brain. These almond-shaped guys react to sight, sound, touch, and taste. And when the alarm goes off, they flood the bloodstream with stress hormones that increase the heart rate and respiration, and thus blood pressure.  

I remember the smell of the slime, how the air flowed through the haunted house, the sounds of...

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Family, Fireworks, and Fun

by Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer, Sententia Gamification

Visualize this:  It’s the Fourth of July in the United States. You are at a park awaiting the setting sun and the fireworks. You are sitting on a blanket and have a picnic next to you waiting to be consumed. And let’s assume the weather is delightful (not the heat-wave most experience in reality).    

Are you there alone? If not, who is with you?    

For many people, this celebration involves the family—specifically, their children. They can’t understand why you would be at a park, watching fireworks, without your children running around.    

And then there are those for whom the bands of brats, roaming around the park, making noise and messes is a distraction from a perfectly good evening and a celebration of independence.    

In his landmark study, Steven Reiss, PhD, noted, among other things, that people have different...

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