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Poster B137

Neural mechanisms of perceptual curiosity and associated memory enhancement

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Zhongyu Hu1,2 (, Jiongjiong Yang1,2; 1School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, 2Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University

Perceptual curiosity promotes the perception of unknown stimuli and intrinsically facilitates information acquisition. It remains unclear how perceptual curiosity is represented in the brain during the anticipation and outcome phases, and to what extent it improves general and detailed memory. In this study, perceptual curiosity was manipulated by object pictures with varying levels of blur. Subjects first viewed blur pictures and rated levels of confidence in object identification and levels of curiosity about them. Subsequently, they rated levels of satisfaction when clear versions of the pictures were presented. A mnemonic similarity task was used to test their memories for clear pictures 10 minutes later. The results revealed that sustained activation in the amygdala was associated with the incentive salience of curiosity during both the anticipation and outcome phases. However, the cingulate cortex, linked to cognitive salience, was associated with confidence. The activation of the reward system was specifically modulated by the satisfaction of curiosity during the outcome phase. Regarding memory, confidence enhanced both general and detailed memory through heightened activation of the perirhinal cortex (PRC). Curiosity, on the other hand, enhanced detailed memory by activation of the posterior hippocampus, PRC, and the lateral occipital cortex. Furthermore, satisfaction of curiosity enhanced both general and detailed memory through increased activation in the reward system and the anterior and posterior hippocampus, respectively. These results highlighted a unique neural mechanism of incentive-salience-related amygdala underlying perceptual curiosity, and the role of the long-axis of hippocampus in facilitating general and detailed memory by satisfaction of curiosity.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


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