How is interest different from money?

11th February 2019 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Kou Murayama, University of Reading

Location: Seminar Room D, Department of Education

Convener: Lars-Erik Malmberg

A part of the Quantitative Methods Hub Seminar Programme HT 2019

The recent growing body of neuroimaging studies has suggested that curiosity is related to the reward network in the brain (e.g., the striatum), which is commonly activated by extrinsic incentives. These findings have led neuroscience researchers to claim that interest is no different from the motivation driven by extrinsic incentives. On the other hand, there is a long-lasting tradition in psychology which denotes that curiosity is something special, and completely independent of, or even in competition with, motivation driven by extrinsic incentives. The objective of the talk is to provide a framework (called “curiosity as a complementary reward for extrinsic incentives”) that accommodates both similarities and dissimilarities between curiosity and extrinsic incentives. The basic idea is that curiosity (or interest) can be described as a reward-learning model of knowledge acquisition, but that this knowledge acquisition process has some unique properties that do not exist in the reward learning with extrinsic rewards. I will provide some empirical evidence to support the idea.