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Curiosity makes learning easier

Curiosity makes learning easier
Highlights

A new study has explored the changes that happen in our brains when we are curious about a specific topic and showed that it becomes easier to learn...

Washington: A new study has explored the changes that happen in our brains when we are curious about a specific topic and showed that it becomes easier to learn information about that topic.

The study conducted at University of California suggested that this study could help scientists find ways to enhance overall learning and memory in both healthy individuals and those with neurological conditions.
Lead author Dr. Matthias Gruber from University of California at Davis, said that their findings potentially had far-reaching implications for the public because they revealed insights into how a form of intrinsic motivation and curiosity affected memory.
The study included participants where they rated their curiosity to learn the answers to a series of trivia questions.
When they were later presented with a selected trivia question, there was a 14 second delay before the answer was provided, during which time the participants were shown a picture of a neutral, unrelated face. Afterwards, participants performed a surprise recognition memory test for the faces that were presented, followed by a memory test for the answers to the trivia questions.
During certain parts of the study, participants had their brains scanned via functional magnetic resonance imaging.
The study found out that when people were highly curious to find out the answer to a question, they were better at learning that information, when curiosity is stimulated, there is increased activity in the brain circuit related to reward and when curiosity motivated learning, there was increased activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that is important for forming new memories, as well as increased interactions between the hippocampus and the reward circuit.
The study is published online in the Cell Press journal Neuron.
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