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The neuroeconomics of epistemic curiosity

Buyalskaya, Anastasia and Camerer, Colin F. (2020) The neuroeconomics of epistemic curiosity. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 35 . pp. 141-149. ISSN 2352-1546. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2020.09.006.

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Epistemic curiosity is an intrinsic drive to obtain non-instrumental information. It is presumed to be adaptively useful for building mental representations where there is an exploration bonus for learning. Formally, epistemic curiosity is most commonly modelled by calculating the entropy associated with information. Human curiosity across life stages exhibits a predictable Goldilocks pattern, where maximum entropy attracts attention and arousal, thus ‘piquing’ curiosity. This and close variants of the curiosity ‘formula’ have been used to generate more efficient algorithms, clickbait headlines, and maximum-suspense thrillers. Human fMRI studies have shown activity associated with curiosity and ‘fulfillment’ of curiosity (e.g. learning answers), typically in basal ganglia reward areas. Understanding this near-universal human drive is important for education and many other domains.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Buyalskaya, Anastasia0000-0002-1848-1661
Camerer, Colin F.0000-0003-4049-1871
Additional Information:© 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Available online 2 November 2020. The authors would like to thank support from the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Neuroscience Institute (A.B.) and the Behavioral and Neuroeconomics Discovery Fund (C.F.C). Conflicts of interest statement: Nothing declared.
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for NeuroscienceUNSPECIFIED
Behavioral and Neuroeconomics Discovery FundUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210226-080923702
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Official Citation:Anastasia Buyalskaya, Colin F Camerer, The neuroeconomics of epistemic curiosity, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, Volume 35, 2020, Pages 141-149, ISSN 2352-1546, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108229
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Feb 2021 19:37
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:10

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