The Super Mario Effect - Tricking Your Brain into Learning More | Mark Rober | TEDxPenn

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When 50,000 of Mark Rober's 3 million YouTube subscribers participated in a basic coding challenge, the data all pointed to what Rober has dubbed the Super Mario Effect. The YouTube star and former NASA engineer describes how this data-backed mindset for life gamification has stuck with him along his journey, and how it impacts the ways he helps (or tricks) his viewers into learning science, engineering, and design. Mark Rober has made a career out of engineering, entertainment, and education. After completing degrees in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California, Rober joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2004. In his nine years as a NASA engineer, seven of which were on the Mars rover Curiosity team, Rober worked on both the Descent Stage (the jet pack that lowered the Rover to the surface) and some hardware on the Rover top deck for collecting samples. In 2011, Rober’s iPad-based Halloween costume helped launch both his creative costume company, Digital Dudz, and his YouTube channel, which now boasts 3 million subscribers and 400 million views. His videos focus on creative ideas and science- and engineering-based pranks and activities. Rober is a regular guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!". Today, he does research and development work for a large technology company in Northern California, where he lives with his wife and son. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


familyguyfan420 : when will ted himself finally show up to the talk?

Paws : Reads title: oh Sees Marks face: oh Wait is that Mark Rober? OMG ITS MARK ROBER CLICK

Malik Suleiman : Yo this guy should make a YouTube channel

36Techniques : life is like super mario.. we spend most of our time collecting gold coins, but if you eat mushrooms you go up a level

Geo B : The 751 dislikes are from Bowser

havengoer : Felt sad when no one laughed when he said, "I finally beat Bowser last night"

I like CHIPS!!! : I'm a simple man I see mark Rober I click

Da Nintendude : The opening point about the -5 points is very relatable. One time I had to take a quiz on quizziz... now, this can be fun for studying, and just having fun, but this was for a grade... Quizziz is built like a competition... Especially when the teacher doesn't disable certain features, it can get really disheartening. So I'm trying to answer the questions... there is a time limit for each one, and I'm given points based on how fast I answer the question. I can see the names of others in my class and what scores they have... and it makes me unable to focus. Eventually I see the quiz as both a quiz and a competition... I'm clicking questions fast... I don't wanna run out of time. I may know the true answer, but I'm not thinking long enough, I'm just choosing. I see that I am in a low place, I don't have many points, so I get even more anxious and click the wrong answers. At the end of the quiz, I have a B... and that is my actual grade... not my score on a game... but an actual grade... The -5 points in the coding game may be pointless, but so are the "extra" points on the quizziz... those are strictly for the competitive aspect... overall, I am graded on how many I got right. If I was doing something like a Google Forms, where I can't see that anyone else is doing better than me, and I don't have a quickly decreasing time limit, I can focus much better and get a much better grade. You simply cannot throw unnecessary points into a quiz... that just messes everyone up. The most ironic part of this all is that Quizziz is a way to try and make quizzes fun... it is a game... the problem is, that if done incorrectly, making a quiz into a game can screw you up.

Makar Lock : The -5 points, in real life, is called standardized testing.

Gnorts Mr Alien : In other words, grades are counterproductive.

Music Addict : 'unexplained trust issues'

Sorane : "That's not a bug, that's a feature" video game industry approved

Artificial Idiot : If I wouldn't die, I would have easily learned parkour.

Fabzil : “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ― Michael Jordan

John Paul George Carganilla : It should’ve been called the Dark Souls Effect

Awemowe : Evidence for it in real life, can be found in World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft used to punish players that played for a long time by reducing the XP they would get, to make sure they didn't play so long that they would die in real life. People pushed that to the limit, and it was a bad thing all around. Instead of that though, they changed it so you got REWARDED for logging off, by getting rested experience which accumulated while offline (2x experience gain, when you came back online).

Luxurious03 : Nah *_Its what you call real education, no tricks_*

Code Orange Films : And think about the school system. Should we be penalizing kids with bad grades for making mistakes? No. We should be letting them play Mario games. :)

alexander horvath : Who else thinks that Mark Robber would be the best science teacher.

West Coast Ghost : When I talked about video games at school I got beat up and called a nerd. The 80’s were awesome. At least the nerds won in the end.

Mitsuyoshi : "It feels natural to stand up and try again like a toddler that really wants to learn how to walk." This was the best motivating analogy I've ever heard. It reminds me of what my mom always used to say while she taught me how to ride a horse: "When you fall down from a horse or a horse has thrown you off his back: After you've checked your health quickly get back up so to not let anxiety of the horse control you."

Young_ Zombling_ : _watches video without reading the title_ “Huh this sounds like Mark Rober” _reads title_ “Ah”

Lift Pizzas : "In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. Find the fun and snap, the job's a game." - Mary Poppins

Luthor Hunt : this talk was about this guys life, mmm irrelevant to the topic he start talkign about. if that wasnt bad enouhg, make me waste 10 mins of my life. what a dush

Greg Faust : Oh, no. You did not talk about rescuing Princess Peach. She was "Toadstool" in the western world until well into the '90's.

Kolos : "The trick to learning more and have more success, is finding a right way to frame a learning process" Mark Rober

Olive Charton : This video is just 90% Mark casually flexing and 10% actual teaching


B-Man's Bunnies : This guy obviously never played unfair Mario

Haerim Lee : But in Mario, you do lose lives if you fail, and this mild, but very extant pressure to not lose all your lives does play a role in you learning the game. Small amounts of pressure do help (in a fun setting) to let you learn faster and in a more realistic situation.

Mouse Golf : Now there's a trailblazer for new educational institutions. A perfect example of how old-school education trampled on the confidence of students who became paranoid if they got a C rather than a B or an A. Yep. Good video!

Sarah Bollinger : Mark is incredibly brilliant and caring. One of my favorite Ted Talks/ Youtubers of all time.

Kevin Reilley : The thing is, life does penalize you for failure, so your goal should be to harden yourself to that not arrange your world such that failure isn't penalized. Nevermind, I had only watched to 2:45 when I wrote that, He has changed my mind.

Gabriel Fagerslett : I keep pausing the video because I want to like the video, but I already have. This is so important and good. Thank you Rober for an amazing talk

Steve Von Doom : snow-ball machine-gun... that is the awesome. :)

Daniel Adami : I had been talking to my mom and siblings about this type of thing all the time, but I didn't call it this or anything, but I guess since there are 7 billion people in the world, I guess we all share thoughts. I didn't really know how to explain this to my teachers because this effect happens to me all the time.

Big Lebowski : The experiment has no consequence and has penalty cases. How would positive reinforcement (rewarding points) affect the result?

Nick : If there was no failure no one would try, because there would be nothing to avoid.

CymsiJr : Lol, I could beat SMB1 in ~5 minutes, it's pretty easy.

Bacon-is-Lyfe 747 : This already has a name its called trial and error

Matheus Castello : I think Finland is a great example of this too, iirc students don’t take tests until they’re around 17 or so. Removing the fear of failure. And guess what, their teaching system is one of the most successful worldwide.

Azzam Al Hanif : Now this is the best Ted Talk ever.

Jason Mueller : There is something missing from this and that is the power of positive reinforcement. You showed where points where taken away and people not trying to figure it out after a while but what if you had put in a points earned for getting the puzzle partly right.The reason people keep trying or give up is the feedback given. If you get a lot of negative feedback you tend to give up more quickly and if you are given more positive feedback you tend to want to keep going. This is not to say that you should never give out negative feedback because if all you hear is good with no bad then you really do not get why you failed.

Christopher Rael : This is like church but without the God...

Epifania Experiência : Funny how this reminds me of Eminem "Love The Way You Lie" "You don't get another chance, life is no Nintendo game" That being said I loved the talk anyway :P

Dave Skoglund : Great talk Mark. You hit the bullseye on this one.

Infected Venom : I'm a Super Mario Speedrunner...

Dan Bell : Force kids to learn, judge them based on arbitrary criteria, single them out in front of a crowd that will tear them down for succeeding *or* failing. Tax the parents. Overpay the people making this happen while they complain about not getting paid more, when they are terrible at the job. Call it education.

Moosa ali : Re-Frame challenge as learning in a game, by focusing on end-goal, seeing pitfall as feedback. Don't make it BORING!