For Memory, Curiosity Is Its Own Reward

October 10, 2014 12:20 PM

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Perhaps curiosity is its own reward. It's a lot easier to learn something when you're interested in it, and there's certainly something inherently motivating about being curious. Now, a team of researchers think they know why: The same brain circuits seem to control both curiosity and our responses to money, tasty food, and other sorts of external motivation.

Neuroscientists Matthias Gruber, Bernard Gelman, and Charan Ranganath developed that hypothesis after contemplating a 2009 study that connected curiosity to the caudate nucleus, a brain region that neuroeconomists believe plays a role in learning and processing rewards (among many other things). To ...

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