How does choice affect curiosity?
Date of Archiving2021
Radboud Data Repository
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PI Group Motivational & Cognitive Control
SW OZ DCC CO
PI Group Predictive Brain
Key wordscuriosity; choice; uncertainty; expected value; information seeking; cognitive psychology; cognitive neuroscience
In our connected era, we spend significant time and effort pursuing our curiosity. Often, we choose which information we seek, but sometimes, the selection is made for us. We hypothesized that humans exhibit enhanced curiosity in the context of choice. We designed a task in which healthy participants saw two lotteries on each trial. On some trials, participants chose which lottery to play. On other trials, the lottery was selected for them. Participants then indicated their curiosity about the outcome of the lottery to be played via self-report ratings (Experiment 1, N=34) or willingness to wait decisions (Experiment 2, N=34). We found that participants exhibited higher curiosity ratings and higher willingness to wait for the outcome of lotteries they had chosen than for lotteries that had been selected for them (controlling for initial preference). This demonstrates that choice boosts curiosity, which may have implications to boost learning, memory, and motivation.