Posted by: fireweaver | November 19, 2007

oh so clever!

Alejna over at collecting tokens tips us off today to the “freerice” site, wherein rice is donated to 3rd world countries through the UN’s world food program. what makes this different than the standard “click to donate” sort of thing is that it’s a super fun game for those of us that think we’re hella-clever: you’re clicking through a vocab game with ginormous words most of us haven’t seen since the SATs or medical board exams. and then it ranks your score out of 50 levels.

oh, damn, i could play for, uh, longer than i think i should be doing at work. it’s a beautiful example of classical operant conditioning, which is when animals/people push the button and get a “reinforcer,” or some reward you’re particularly interested in working for. behavioral psych tells us that most creatures will work harder to get a reward than they’d show desire for some substance just freely offered (i.e., put a bowl of kibbles out and the dog will eat 50 of them, but make him push a lever or do something for those kibbles and he might eat 60 of them); the work/game itself is part of the reward. the firmest way to reinforce something, though, is to only reward your subject intermittently (example: only give the dog the kibble every 2nd or 3rd or 8th time he sits on command, keeping the interval random). for some reason, when you have that reward given to you only every so often, you’ll work far longer to get it, as long as the reinforcer is, in fact, something you desire. now, as a big big geek and self-proclaimed know-it-all, one of the best ever pats on the head for me is to be told i’m super clever. in this game, every time you get a word or two wrong, you get knocked down a level (it’s keeping the running tally for you down under your answers for that particular word, i.e., “vocab level 40”), but you have to get 3 in a row right before you get bumped up a level. which means when you have a run of only 3 words in a row wrong, you’ll have to play through at least 9 more correct to get back up to where you were.

so i managed (VERY briefly, for one word only) to hit a level 48 before being knocked back to a 44.  the faq on there says “There are 50 levels in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 48,” so i feel like i’m extra special.  post your high scores, peeps!

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Responses

  1. […] it’s wastin’ you guys remember the nerdtacular time-vacuum of last year that is the free rice site?  answering vocab words correctly meant the site’s sponsor would […]


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