Curiosity, Frontal EEG Asymmetry, and Learning

AbstractCuriosity plays a critical role in our daily behaviors and interactions. Yet, very little is known about its psychological and neural underpinnings. By reframing curiosity as the motivation to obtain reward – where the reward is information –, and using frequency-based metrics of frontal brain lateralization, we aimed to investigate the neural correlates of curiosity in the frontal cortex and its effects on subsequent learning. Twenty-one undergraduate students participated in this two-day study by answering 35 general interest trivia questions, while EEG data was being recorded, also indicating their curiosity towards the question. One week later, participants were asked to write down the correct answers to each one of the questions. The results of this study suggested that frontal brain asymmetry (FBA) predicts memory recall, but is not directly correlated with self reported curiosity. Study limitations and future directions are discussed.

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