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Process account of curiosity and interest: a reward-learning perspective

Murayama, K., Fitzgibbon, L. ORCID: and Sakaki, M. ORCID: (2019) Process account of curiosity and interest: a reward-learning perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 31 (4). pp. 875-895. ISSN 1040-726X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10648-019-09499-9


Previous studies suggested roles for curiosity and interest in knowledge acquisition and exploration, but there has been a long-standing debate about how to define these concepts and whether they are related or different. In this paper, we address the definition issue by arguing that there is inherent difficulty in defining curiosity and interest, because both curiosity and interest are naïve concepts, which are not supposed to have a priori scientific definitions. We present a reward-learning framework of autonomous knowledge acquisition and use this framework to illustrate the importance of process account as an alternative to advance our understanding of curiosity and interest without being troubled by their definitions. The framework centers on the role of rewarding experience associated with knowledge acquisition and learning and posits that the acquisition of new knowledge strengthens the value of further information. Critically, we argue that curiosity and interest are the concepts that they subjectively construe through this knowledge-acquisition process. Finally, we discuss the implications of the reward-learning framework for education and empirical research in educational psychology.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
ID Code:85422


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