BEACON Seminar: The biology of novelty seeking and uncertainty reduction

Seminars this term will be held remotely on Zoom. Links for joining will be sent out before each seminar. Please contact the host if you would like to set up a remote meeting with a speaker. If you have suggestions for future speakers, please contact Lauren (, or Nima (

Biological and artificial agents are motivated to seek reward. However, biological agents in particular display intrinsic motivation to explore, even when their curiosity does not result in reward. For example, humans and monkeys explore novel objects regardless of their task relevance, and they are often motivated to gain advance information about the future, even in situations in which this information cannot be used for the task at hand. I will discuss the biological mechanisms of these intrinsic drives and outline the circuit mechanisms through which curiosity can impact value-based economic decision making in primates and humans.