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Expected information gain predicts curiosity
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Curiosity has been defined as an intrinsic motivation for performing actions that result in a gain of knowledge (Berlyne, 1966; Loewenstein, 1994). As positive effects of curiosity on memorization of new knowledge were found by Kang et al., 2009, exploring the mechanisms behind curiosity can have great practical applications. Although information theoretic concepts have been linked to curiosity (Berlyne, 1966; Kang et al., 2009; Gottlieb, Oudeyer, Lopes & Baranes, 2013), this has not been tested empirically through an actual information theoretic operationalisation. This study aims to correct this by individually measuring the prior knowledge of participants and computing the expected information gain (IG) of an information rewarding action. To quantify the incentive value of curiosity a time delay was imposed on IG, forcing participants to a trade-off between maximizing information and minimizing time spent on the task. Through linear regression analysis, it is shown that curiosity is proportional to expected IG and that participants were prepared to invest 0.4 seconds per bit.

Abstract [sv]

Nyfikenhet har definierats som en inre motivation av handlingar som resulterar i en kunskapsökning (Berlyne, 1966; Loewenstein, 1994). Då nyfikenhet har visats förbättra inlärningen av ny kunskap (Kang et al., 2009) så bör utforskandet av nyfikenhetens mekanismer vara av stort intresse och ha många praktiska tillämpningar. Även om informationsteoretiska koncept har sammankopplats med nyfikenhet tidigare (Berlyne, 1966; Kang et al., 2009; Gottlieb et al., 2013) så har denna koppling inte testats empiriskt genom en informationsteoretisk operationalisering, vilket är syftet med denna studie. Genom att göra en individuell mätning av försöksdeltagarnas förkunskap så kan den förväntade informationsvinsten (IG) av att utföra en informationsbelönande handling beräknas. För att kvantifiera det inneboende värdet hos nyfikenhet så straffas informationsvinst med en tidskostnad, vilket tvingar försöksdeltagarna att välja mellan att maximera information och minimera tiden det tar att utföra experimentet. En linjär regressionsanalys visar att nyfikenhet är proportionell mot förväntad informationsvinst, och att försöksdeltagarna är beredda att betala 0.4 sekunder per bit.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Curiosity, information theory, information gain, prior knowledge
Keyword [sv]
nyfikenhet, informationsteori, förväntad information, prior, förkunskap
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-106690OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-106690DiVA: diva2:844019
Subject / course
Masteruppsats i kognitionsvetenskap
Educational program
Master's Programme in Cognitive Science
Available from: 2015-09-14 Created: 2015-08-03 Last updated: 2015-09-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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Output format
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