What you need to know about prediction error

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From sparks and whizzbangs in the chemistry lab to the class novel’s unexpected plot twist, confounding students’ expectations taps into the system by which we educate ourselves about life, by activating the brain reward system. So what’s not to like about ‘prediction error’? Chris Parr explores the latest concept looking to gain a foothold in how children are taught

What you need to know about prediction error

You’re sure it’s a dog. And you’re sure it is a big dog.

The street is residential, it’s the middle of the afternoon, and no one is about. The bark from behind you, just beyond your left shoulder, is loud – thunderous, even. It can only be a monstrous, drooling guard dog.

You turn around slowly, heart racing, sweat beading, and…

A tiny black pug, no bigger than your hand, is backing slowly away across a lawn three yards away, barking up a storm but retreating and shaking as it goes.

You laugh, and carry on, not realising that you just learned something. What just happened, you see, was a ...

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