FC08- The Motivational Power of Curiosity – Information as Reward

Lecturer: Lily FitzGibbon
Fields: Cognitive, developmental and educational psychology; neuroscience 


This course will provide an overview of research from a number of fields of psychology and neuroscience pertinent to the understanding of the motivational power of curiosity. In particular, we will discuss empirical findings from across the lifespan in the context of a reward learning framework of knowledge acquisition. We will consider where the subjective experiences of curiosity and interest fit into the model and how they might be differentiated. Finally, we will discuss and develop challenges, open questions, and testable predictions from the model, setting out a programme of work for the field. The aim of this final session is to generate and develop research ideas and foster new collaborations between course participants.

Session 1: Introduction to curiosity and interest

Session 2: A reward learning model of knowledge acquisition

Session 3: A lifespan perspective on information as reward

Session 4: Challenges, open questions and testable predictions


In this course, participants will gain an understanding of a new model of information acquisition and its power to integrate a previously divided literature and generate new predictions about the process of knowledge acquisition. Participants will also learn about methods from a large array of disciplines that can be applied to the empirical study of information as reward.



Lily FitzGibbon works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Motivation Science Lab at the University of Reading. She has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Sheffield and has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham and the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the cognitive processes involved in decision making, including curiosity, risk processing, and emotional evaluation of actual and hypothetical outcomes.

Affiliation: University of Reading
Website: https://koumurayama.com/people.php