Not sure whether this question would fall under philosophy or psychology (both perhaps) but I was always curious why it is that children love video games but hate homework. Cognitively they are pretty much the same. They challenge the child to think critically to solve a problem, and provide a sense of reward when completed, so why is one cherished while the other despised?

Looks like a psychological question with philosophical implications!

Difficult to say for certain, but I would venture that the difference comes down to the nature of the reward. Unless a child is a professional video game player, playing the game has no rewards beyond the satisfaction of playing. The child is moved to play by intrinsic motivation. In contrast, in most cases, the rewards of completing one's homework are largely extrinsic, stemming from the praise a child gets from parents or teachers for completing it, grades, etc. And there's an abundance of evidence that the nature of our motivation for engaging in an activity shapes how rewarding or worthwhile we find it: Activities we perform for their own sake are experienced as more rewarding or worthwhile than activities whose rewards lie outside it (in social esteem, income, and so on). This is why most of us find play more gratifying than work, even when play is hard work! Edward Deci has long been one of the pioneers in this area of motivation research.

Plato recounts a conversation in his magisterial dialogue "Republic" (at lines 475e-476b) where a young man names "Glaucon" and Socrates discuss education and philosophy (the love of wisdom). A distinction is generated between "lovers of sights and sounds" and "lovers of truth." I suspect something of that explains the difference you've discerned. Some people find satisfaction in sensuous experiences (the "lovers of sights and sounds"). They like images and fictions, make-believe, movies, shows, representations. They enjoy vivid and delightful shapes, colors, movement, music, powerful sub-woofer explosions, etc. Others enjoy ideas, theories, concepts, arguments, principles, and the discovery of fundamental truths about what's real, actual, and factual. They're less interested in exciting moments than in enduring wisdom. There's also a discussion perhaps relevant in work by the quasi-Platonic philosopher, Augustine, about how people get caught up in the desires of their eyes and senses generally, rather than desires related to knowing ultimate truth. Finally, your question reminds me of the end of the novelist Herman Hesse's book "Steppenwolf" (from which the band took its name). It's a passage where the main character reflects upon Mozart heard on a lousy old radio and discovers that he can still appreciate the music even when badly conveyed. The sound reproduction of the radio is poor. It's not high fidelity. No deep, subwoofer base. No digitally remastered production values. But the extraordinary quality of the music is still discernible to him nevertheless. In contrast many people spend enormous amounts of money and invest substantial pride in their hi-fi "sound" systems, but the music they play is terrible. What delights the latter kind of listener (the ones with the great audio systems but stinky music), aside from the social status symbolized by their expenditures, are the sensuous elements of what plays (the sounds) rather than the intellectual dimensions of the music (the composition, harmonies, complex rhythms, its conversation with musical history). I don't know how much of this difference is inborn in people and how much is cultivated, but I suspect that the problem is that while lots of educational programs try to wrap learning in video game-like sensory experiences, they inadvertently teach students to love the sights and sounds but not the ideas and truths conveyed by them. They give students the medicine with a spoonful of sugar, but the students come to love the sugar instead of the medicine. (Lots of the rest of our culture also cultivates the love of sensuous experiences at the expense of the love of ideas). Good education must cultivate students loves and desires and direct them in the right direction. The distinction you're seeing is the result of inadequate education, or perhaps just the starting point from which all education must take up its work.

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