Schedule of Events | Search Abstracts | Symposia | Invited Symposia | Poster Sessions | Data Blitz Sessions

Poster D153

Effects of age and curiosity on decision-making and memory

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Hsiang-Yu Chen1, Katherine O'Malley2, Anne Berry3; 1Department of Psychology, Brandeis University

Curiosity is a form of intrinsic motivation, which, if harnessed, has the capacity to enhance learning and memory. Curiosity has been linked to catecholamine systems, which change across the lifespan. We developed a task to examine the nature of age-related changes in curiosity and its impact on memory and decision-making: the Photographic Art Storytelling Task (PAST). PAST uses photographic art with secret “stories” about each photograph’s origin. Participants first rated their level of curiosity about knowing the story behind each photograph. Next, participants were shown the stories behind a subset of photographs which they endorsed as “high curiosity” and “low curiosity.” Critically, we designed half of the stories to be interesting (rich history or remarkable detail) and half to be boring (simple description of the physical scene). Preliminary data include 11 older and 15 young adults with concurrent pupillometry measurement. Pupil dilations positively correlated with curiosity ratings, suggesting a role of the locus coeruleus-catecholamine system in tracking intrinsic motivation. We found no age-group difference in initial curiosity ratings. However, there were age-group effects in the extent to which initial curiosity shaped the perception of story outcomes and impacted future information seeking. Specifically, after reading part of the stories, older adults maintained their curiosity regardless of the story outcomes (interesting/boring), whereas young adults’ curiosity levels changed. Preliminary data suggest memory benefits for “high curiosity” photographs for both groups. Together, these findings suggest curiosity has a beneficial impact on memory, but that curiosity may be harder to modify in older adults.

Topic Area: THINKING: Development & aging


CNS Account Login


April 13–16  |  2024