Does prior knowledge affect a rise or decline in curiosity? : A study on curiosity from an information theoretic perspective

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för psykologi

Author: Tim Lind; [2015]

Keywords: prior knowledge; curiosity; time series data;

Abstract: To study whether the curiosity can decline or not for a certain task could help us understand how to keep students both interested and engaged in all the different subjects that the education system has to offer. This study aimed to first find a way to measure curiosity, to then see if it changes over time, and if it shows to be different between low performing people and high performing people. 20 people participated at two different sessions. At the first session uncertainty was measured in form of Shannon’s entropy. At the second session participants got to choose between more or less informative options, and then gain feedback depending on the choice. The entropy proved to be a valid predictor for information choice and was used as curiosity measurement in form of a time cost by expected information gain. Patterns in curiosity change over time was found for the sample, low performing participants and high performing participants, where the sample and high performing people showed a significant effect of curiosity decline.

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