New video game features create a placebo effect

video game

Whether it’s the new iPhone, a Blu-ray movie with deleted scenes or a simple firmware update people are obsessed with the new and improved, and according to researchers at the University of York, there’s a good reason: New features can create a placebo effect for an experience feeling more fun and immersive.

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Video games should be consider an ‘experience, not just a product

Thatgamecompany’s PlayStation 3 exclusive game, Journey.

Video games are the most interactive form of entertainment we have but they have been slow to achieve the kind of experiential status that is often associated with art, music, literature, and film. Last year there were many titles released that challenged this notion. Among them was Thatgamecompany’s PlayStation3 exclusive, Journey, which has received heaps of praise and made many video game enthusiasts’ Game-of-the-Year lists.

 

 

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The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education (from a marketing perspective)

The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education (from a marketing perspective)
Seth Godin: For 400 years, higher education in the United States has been on a
roll. From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the
1600s to millions tuning in to watch a team of unpaid athletes play
another team of unpaid athletes in some college sporting event, the
amounts of time and money and prestige in the college world have
been climbing.
I’m afraid that’s about to crash and burn. Here’s how I’m looking at
it.
Most undergraduate college and university programs are
organized to give an average education to average
students.
Pick up any college brochure or catalog. Delete the brand names
and the map. Can you tell which college it is? While there are
outliers (like St. John’s College, in Maryland, Deep Springs College,
and Full Sail University), most colleges aren’t really outliers. They
are mass marketers.
Stop for a second and consider the impact of that choice. By
emphasizing mass and sameness and rankings, colleges have
changed their missions.
This works great in an industrial economy where we can’t churn
out standardized students fast enough, and where the demand is
huge because the premium earned by a college graduate dwarfs the
cost. But …
College has gotten expensive far faster than wages have
gone up.
As a result, millions of people are in very serious debt, debt so big
it might take decades to repay. Word gets around. Won’t get fooled
again.
This leads to a crop of potential college students who can (and will)
no longer just blindly go to the “best” school they get into.
The definition of “best” is under siege.
Why do colleges send millions (!) of undifferentiated pieces of junk
mail to high-school students now? We will waive the admission
fee! We have a one-page application! Apply! This is some of the
most amateur and bland direct mail I’ve ever seen. Why do it?
Biggest reason: So colleges can reject more applicants. The more
applicants they reject, the higher they rank in U.S. News and other
rankings. And thus the rush to game the rankings continues, which
is a sign that the marketers in question (the colleges) are getting
desperate for more than their fair share. Why bother making your
education more useful if you can more easily make it appear to be
more useful?
The correlation between a typical college degree and
success is suspect.
College wasn’t originally designed to be merely a continuation of
high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places,
though, that’s what it has become. The data I’m seeing show that a
degree (from one of those famous schools, with or without a
football team) doesn’t translate into significantly better career
opportunities, a better job, or more happiness than does a degree
from a cheaper institution.
Accreditation isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.
A lot of these ills are the result of uniform accreditation programs
that have pushed high-cost, low-return policies on institutions and
rewarded colleges that churn out young wannabe professors
instead of creating experiences that turn out leaders and problem
solvers.
Just as we’re watching the disintegration of old-school marketers
with mass-market products, I think we’re about to see significant
cracks in old-school colleges with mass-market degrees.
Back before the digital revolution, access to information was an
issue. The size of the library mattered. One reason to go to college
was to get access. Today that access is worth a lot less. The valuable
http://chronicle.com/article/The-Coming-Meltdown-in-High/65398/
The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education
was to get access. Today that access is worth a lot less. The valuable
things that students take away from college are interactions with
great minds (usually professors who actually teach and actually
care) and non-class activities that shape them as people. The
question I’d ask: Is the money that mass-marketing colleges spend
on marketing themselves and making themselves bigger well
spent? Are they organizing for changing lives or for ranking high?
Does NYU have to get so much bigger? Why?
The solutions are obvious. There are tons of ways to get a cheap
liberal education, one that exposes you to the world, permits you to
have significant interactions with people who matter, and teaches
you to make a difference (see DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and
the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, by Anya
Kamenetz). Most of these ways, though, aren’t heavily marketed,
nor do they involve going to a tradition-steeped 200-year-old
institution with a wrestling team. Things like gap years, research
internships, and entrepreneurial or social ventures after high
school are opening doors for students who are eager to discover the
new.
The only people who haven’t gotten the memo are anxious
helicopter parents, mass-marketing colleges, and traditional
employers. And all three are waking up and facing new
circumstances.

Future-of-Colleges-and-Universities-549

Blueprint for a revolution

Seth Godin: For 400 years, higher education in the United States has been on a roll. From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the 1600s to millions tuning in to watch a team of unpaid athletes play another team of unpaid athletes in some college sporting event, the amounts of time and money and prestige in the college world have been climbing.

I’m afraid that’s about to crash and burn. Here’s how I’m looking at it.

Continue reading… “The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education (from a marketing perspective)”

A Revolution is Brewing for Colleges & Universities

Dorm Life 273

Dorm life has become a central part of the
college experience, but may soon go away

Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which “going to college” means packing up, getting a dorm room and listening to tenured professors. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet. The business model that sustained private U.S. colleges cannot survive.
The real force for change is the market: Online classes are just cheaper to produce. Community colleges and for-profit education entrepreneurs are already experimenting with dorm-free, commute-free options. Distance-learning technology will keep improving. Innovators have yet to tap the potential of the aggregator to change the way students earn a degree, making the education business today look like the news biz circa 1999. And as major universities offer some core courses online, we’ll see a cultural shift toward acceptance of what is still, in some circles, a “University of Phoenix” joke.
This doesn’t just mean a different way of learning: The funding of academic research, the culture of the academy and the institution of tenure are all threatened.
Both newspapers and universities have traditionally relied on selling hard-to-come-by information. Newspapers touted advertising space next to breaking news, but now that advertisers find their customers on Craigslist and Cars.com, the main source of reporters’ pay is vanishing. Colleges also sell information, with a slightly different promise — a degree, a better job and access to brilliant minds. As with newspapers, some of these features are now available elsewhere. A student can already access videotaped lectures, full courses and openly available syllabuses online. And in five or 10 years, the curious 18- (or 54-) year-old will be able to find dozens of quality online classes, complete with take-it-yourself tests, a bulletin board populated by other “students,” and links to free academic literature.
But the demand for college isn’t just about the yearning to learn — it’s also about the hope of getting a degree. Online qualifications cost a college less to provide. Schools don’t need to rent the space, and the glut of doctoral students means they can pay instructors a fraction of the salary for a tenured professor, and assume that they will rely on shared syllabuses. Those savings translate into cheaper tuition, and even before the recession, there was substantial evidence of unmet demand for cheaper college degrees. Online degrees are already relatively inexpensive. And the price will only dive in coming decades, as more universities compete.
You can already see significant innovation in online education at some community colleges and for-profit institutions. The community colleges are working with limited resources to maximize their offerings through Internet aggregation. For-profit institutions appear to be capitalizing on the high demand for low-cost degrees and the fact that few public schools do much traditional marketing.
These entrepreneurs are a little like the early online news sharers — bloggers, contributors to mailing lists and bulletin boards, profit seekers, tinkerers. Just as the new model of news separated “the article” from “the newspaper,” the new model of college will separate “the class” from “the college.” Classes are increasingly taken credit by credit, instead of in bulk — just as news is now read article by article.
Of course, a cultural shift will be required before employers greet online degrees without skepticism. But all the elements are in place for that shift. Major universities are teaching a few of their courses online. And the young students of tomorrow will be growing up in an on-demand, personalized world, in which the notion of a set-term, offline, prepackaged education will seem anachronistic.
Taking the newspaper analogy one step further, college aggregators will be the hub of the new school experience. In the world of news, the aggregators have taken over from the newspaper as the entry point for news consumption. Already, half of college graduates attend more than one school before graduation. Soon you’ll see more Web sites that make it easy to take classes from a blend of different universities.
Because the current college system, like the newspaper industry, has built-in redundancies, new Internet efficiencies will lead to fewer researchers and professors. Every major paper once had a bureau in, say, Sarajevo — now, a few foreign correspondents’ pieces are used in dozens of papers. Similarly, at noon on any given day, hundreds of university professors are teaching introductory Sociology 101. The Internet makes it harder to justify these redundancies. In the future, a handful of Soc. 101 lectures will be videotaped and taught across the United States.
When this happens — be it in 10 years or 20 — we will see a structural disintegration in the academy akin to that in newspapers now. The typical 2030 faculty will likely be a collection of adjuncts alone in their apartments, using recycled syllabuses and administering multiple-choice tests from afar.
Not all colleges will be similarly affected. Like the New York Times, the elite schools play a unique role in our society, and so they can probably persist with elements of their old revenue model longer than their lesser-known competitors. Schools with state funding will be as immune as their budgets. But within the next 40 years, the majority of brick-and-mortar universities will probably find partnerships with other kinds of services, or close their doors.
So how should we think about this? Students who would never have had access to great courses or minds are already able to find learning online that was unimaginable in the last century. But unless we make a strong commitment to even greater funding of higher education, the institutions that have allowed for academic freedom, communal learning, unpressured research and intellectual risk-taking are themselves at risk.
If the mainstream of “college teaching” becomes a set of atomistic, underpaid adjuncts, we’ll lose a precious academic tradition that is not easily replaced.

Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which “going to college” means packing up, getting a dorm room and listening to tenured professors. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet. The business model that sustained private U.S. colleges cannot survive.

Continue reading… “A Revolution is Brewing for Colleges & Universities”

Scientists Determine That Goldfish Can Feel Pain

Scientists Determine That Goldfish Can Feel Pain

It is a question that has puzzled scientists – and anglers – for generations, but now a team of researchers claims to have demonstrated that fish do feel pain.  

Whilst the creatures can clearly be seen to react to a jab or blow, experts have disagreed over whether the reaction indicates a sensation of pain, or is little more than a basic reflex.

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Europe’s Biggest Oceanarium Will Be Located In Moscow

Europe’s Biggest Oceanarium Will Be Located In Moscow 

Duman Oceanarium

It is expected that the proposed enormous oceanarium in Moscow will form part of an amusement complex complete with a cinema, hotel, business center, shopping mall and many restaurants. According to news sources, the Eurasian country of Kazakhstan, which is the world’s largest landlocked country, is financing the construction of one of the new oceanarium.

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Neuroscientists Create “Body Swapping” Illusion

Nueroscientists Create “Body Swapping” Illusion 

From the outside, psychotherapy can look like an exercise in self-absorption. In fact, though, therapists often work to pull people out of themselves: to see their behavior from the perspective of a loved one, for example, or to observe their own thinking habits from a neutral distance.

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Researchers Identify Where And How The Brain Recreates Memories

Researchers Identify Where And How The Brain Recreates Memories 

Scientists have for the first time recorded individual brain cells in the act of summoning a spontaneous memory, revealing not only where a remembered experience is registered but also, in part, how the brain is able to recreate it.

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