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Curiosity satisfaction increases event-related potentials sensitive to reward

Rueterbories, Tim, Mecklinger, Axel, Eschmann, Kathrin C. J. ORCID:, Crivelli-Decker, Jordan, Ranganath, Charan and Gruber, Matthias J. ORCID: 2024. Curiosity satisfaction increases event-related potentials sensitive to reward. The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 36 (5) , pp. 888-900. 10.1162/jocn_a_02114

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Successful learning depends on various factors such as depth of processing, motivation, or curiosity about information. A strong drive to learn something or the expectation of receiving a reward can be crucial to enhance learning. However, the influence of curiosity on the processing of new information and its similarity with reward processing is not well understood. This study examined whether states of curiosity influence specific ERPs associated with reward processing and whether these ERPs are related with later memory benefits. In an initial screening phase, participants indicated their curiosity and confidence in prior knowledge about answers to various trivia questions. In a subsequent study phase, we targeted different time windows related to reward processing during the presentation of trivia answers containing the reward positivity (RewP; 250–350 msec), the P3 (250–500 msec), and the late-positive-potential (600–1000 msec). In a following surprise memory test, we found that participants recalled more high- than low-curiosity answers. The RewP, P3, and late-positive-potential showed greater positive mean amplitudes for high compared with low curiosity, reflecting increased reward processing. In addition, we found that the RewP and the P3 showed more positive mean amplitudes for later recalled compared with later forgotten answers, but curiosity did not modulate this encoding-related results. These findings support the view that the satisfaction of curiosity resembles reward processing, indicated by ERPs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
ISSN: 1530-8898
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 February 2024
Date of Acceptance: 8 January 2024
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 14:41

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