EXPRESS: Curiosity-driven learning in adults with and without dyslexia

Bethany Garvin, Saloni Krishnan

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People are willing to spend time and money to receive information and content they are curious about, such as answers to trivia questions, suggesting they find information per se rewarding. Further, in neurotypical adults, states of high curiosity, and high satisfaction with the information received, are known to enhance learning and memory of information encountered in that state. Here, we ask whether the relationship between curiosity, satisfaction, and learning is altered in a group with specific learning difficulty with reading (dyslexia). Using the willingness-to-wait paradigm, we observed that adults with and without dyslexia are willing to spend time waiting for verbal and visual information. This indicates that the same “wanting” mechanisms are seen in individuals with dyslexia for information. We then examined whether information that was desirable was also associated with enhanced memory. Our findings indicate that information does function like a reward, with the gap between expected and received information driving memory. However, this memory effect was attenuated in individuals with dyslexia. These findings point to the need to understand how reward drives learning, and why this might differ in dyslexia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2021

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