Cognitive Seduction

Cognitive Seduction and the “peekaboo” law offers a good explanation why drawing on the blackboard in my cartooning classes works so much better than showing the students the finished art (say, from the previous hour, kept on a flipover) or handing out printed examples. It’s not just a matter of them observing the process, it’s a matter of them also puzzling together what it’s going to end up as and activating their brainmeats while doing so:

In learning, the more you fill things in and hold the learner’s hand, the less their brain will engage. If they don’t need to fire a single neuron to walk through the tutorial, lesson, lecture, etc., they’re getting a shallow, surface-level, non-memorable exposure of “covered” material, but… what’s the point? Obviously this doesn’t mean you just never tell them anything period. This is about graduated hints, mental teasing, cognitive treasure hunts, sparking curiosity, etc. Things that engage the brain. (This is part of the brain-friendly strategy we use in our books.)

Whether you’re trying to get someone’s attention, keep their attention, motivate them to stick with something, or help them to learn more deeply and retain what they’ve learned, leave something for their brain to resolve. Do something to turn their brain on.