How curiosity enhances hippocampus-dependent memory

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Curiosity – the desire to seek new information – has been praised as a critical ingredient to optimise learning in daily life. However, only recently an emerging field of curiosity research in psychology and neuroscience has begun to shed more light on how curiosity affects learning and memory. In my talk, I will present evidence from neuroimaging and behavioural studies that show how curiosity affects hippocampus-dependent memory. In particular, I will show evidence of (1) how curiosity affects activity within dopaminergic-hippocampal regions and how these subcortical regions interact with higher-level brain networks such as the default mode network in support of curiosity-enhanced memory, (2) how curiosity affects memory differently in childhood and adolescence, and (3) how states of curiosity affect memory for incidental information that is encountered during curiosity states. I will present evidence from a series of behavioural experiments using epistemic and perceptual curiosity that help to understand the mechanisms and generalisability of curiosity-enhanced memory. Finally, I will discuss how our recently proposed Prediction, Appraisal, Curiosity, and Exploration (PACE) framework, which synthesises current ideas on the mechanisms underlying curiosity, can guide future research in psychology and neuroscience to further elucidate the mechanisms underlying curiosity and curiosity-based memory.

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If you would like to meet Matthias on the day of the talk, please get in touch with Nima Khalighinejad or Nick Myers.