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Poster E26

Down the Rabbit Hole: The Self-Perpetuating Properties of Curiosity and Its Influence on Memory

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Paige Sevchik1, Abigail Hsiung1, Jia-Hou Poh1, R. Alison Adcock1; 1Duke University

Curiosity exerts a key influence on information-seeking and memory. Yet information-seeking can vary across situations; while some curiosities are satisfied with a quick answer, others might trigger extensive search. Experimental studies of curiosity have primarily focused on the closing of an “information gap” as the resolution of curiosity (e.g., by revealing trivia answers). These studies do not examine how curiosity can be further perpetuated by additional information. The current study aimed to investigate whether curiosity could in fact “open” rather than simply “close” knowledge gaps after receiving resolving information. Participants completed an online trivia task during which they predicted the answers to trivia questions, viewed the answers, and received related follow-up information. Critically, our trivia paradigm allowed participants to request additional information after the answer was revealed. We measured subjective curiosity at multiple stages of each trial, including before and after answer reveal, allowing us to examine how curiosity changed with knowledge acquisition. Approximately one week later, participants underwent a memory test. Rather than an instantaneous satiation, we showed that curiosity can increase after receiving the answer at initial resolution. This increase in curiosity predicted the likelihood of requesting additional information even after accounting for initial curiosity, providing initial evidence for the proposed self-perpetuating nature of curiosity. Our ongoing analyses investigate how these self-perpetuating properties of curiosity contribute to memory updating and the recall of information. This research demonstrates that curiosity evolves dynamically with information states, and is suggestive of distinct potential routes to influencing memory formation.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


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April 13–16  |  2024