Recent years have witnessed a multi-disciplinary surge in the scientific study of curiosity that is characterized by a deep schism. Gap theories conceptualize curiosity as a pressing drive that needs to be satiated, much like hunger or thirst. On the other hand stand theories that conceptualize curiosity as a central component of long-term learning and maximization of reward. Both approaches treat curiosity as unidimensional and tend to neglect its temporal dynamics. The new model proposed here conceptualizes curiosity as a bi-dimensional psychological phenomenon, where one factor is the urge to approach information, and the other is an evaluation of how interesting it might be. These factors define a space, in which one can locate different states, people, and species. Crucial to the model is the postulation that the factors are characterized by different temporal dynamics, that create interesting challenges to rational behavior. The model allows us to cross the schism and account for the two basic approaches to curiosity under the same roof.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The writing of this paper was partly supported by grant #60844 from The Templeton Foundation and grant #2018605 from NSF-BSF .
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