The multifaceted role of self-generated question asking in curiosity-driven learning [post]

Kara Kedrick, Paul Schrater, Wilma Koutstaal
2022 unpublished
Curiosity motivates the search for missing information, driving learning, scientific discovery, and innovation. Yet identifying that there is a gap in one's knowledge is itself a critical step, and may demand that one formulate a question to precisely express what is missing. We provide a model of active-curiosity-driven learning that captures the integral role of self-generated questions during the acquisition of new information. We tested our model using our "Curiosity Question & Answer
more » ... sk" paradigm, where participants (N=136) were asked to generate questions in response to novel, incomplete factual statements and provided the opportunity to forage for answers. We also introduce new measures of question quality that express how well questions capture stimulus and foraging information. We hypothesized that active question asking should influence behavior across the stages of our task by increasing the probability that participants express curiosity, forage for answers, and remember what they had thereby discovered. We found that individuals who asked a high number of quality questions demonstrated boosted curiosity, were more likely to pursue missing information, and more likely to retain the information on a later cued recall test. Additional analyses revealed that curiosity played a predominant role in motivating participants to forage for missing information, but satisfaction with the acquired information was a better indicator of memory recall than curiosity. Overall our results suggest that asking questions enhances the value of missing information, with important implications for learning and discovery of all forms.
doi:10.31234/ fatcat:bdmsm53t45hrnp6riis3rwn5ha