Journal Article

Metacognition of curiosity : people underestimate the seductive lure of non-instrumental information


Curiosity – the desire to seek information – is fundamental for learning and performance. Studies on curiosity have shown that people are intrinsically motivated to seek information even if it does not bring an immediate tangible benefit (i.e., non-instrumental information), but little is known as to whether people have the metacognitive capability to accurately monitor their motivation for seeking information. We examined whether people can accurately predict their own non-instrumental information-seeking behavior. Across six experiments (Experiments 1A–1E and 2, total N = 579), participants predicted that they would engage in information-seeking behavior less frequently than they actually did, suggesting that people tend to underestimate the motivational lure of curiosity. Overall, there was no consistent statistical evidence that this underestimation was altered by contextual factors (e.g., the cost to seek information). These results were consistent with the theoretical account that it is difficult for people to make sense of the internally rewarding value of information in advance.

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Kim Sunae
Sakaki Michiko
Murayama Kou

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-11-07

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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