ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (4): 723-736.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00723

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The mechanism and function of curiosity

HUANG Qi1, CHEN Chunping2, LUO Yuejia1,3,4, WU Haiyan5,6()   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Beijing 100101, China
    3College of Teacher Education, Qilu Normal University, Jinan 250200, China
    4Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518060, China
    5Center for Cognition and Brain Sciences, University of Macau, Macau 999078, China
    6Department of Psychology, University of Macau, Macau 999078, China
  • Received:2020-05-06 Online:2021-04-15 Published:2021-02-22


Curiosity has a long history of research and rich definitions and classifications as a common mental state and personality trait. The division and coordination of multiple brain regions enable individuals to form a cognitive process of generating and evaluating prediction error, triggering and mediating curiosity, and producing surprise and new prediction error, so as to reduce the prediction error and information gap between internal states and external environment, and eliminate uncertainty. Curiosity has a significant role in improving cognitive function and maintaining mental and physical health during development. Future research can be further considered from a cross-species, interdisciplinary, and multi-domain perspective to promote the deepening of research topics, the development of research methods, and the application of research results in curiosity.

Key words: curiosity, exploratory behavior, information seeking, prediction error, information gap, mental health

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