The Huron University College Journal of Learning and Motivation

Article Title

Effects of Curiosity and Extrinsic Motivation on Pattern Recognition


Among the contributions to the psychological field made by Dr. Berlyne, his studies on curiosity and motivation are among the best. Berlyne believed that curiosity was an intrinsic motivation which drove us to seek out new information. This study tested 40 students from the University of Western Ontario, from the ages of 19-25. The goal was to measure the effects of Curiosity (as measured by the Curiosity Exploration Inventory) and extrinsic motivation (as measured with a candy reward) on performance of pattern recognition tasks. The hypothesis was that the group with higher curiosity would perform better on pattern recognition tasks than the group with lower curiosity and that extrinsic motivation would be more beneficial to those with a low curiosity than to those with a high curiosity. The results found that the existence of a reward or not had a significant effect on the results, however, the level of curiosity of the subject did not. Reliability and validity for the CEI were demonstrated in other studies, however, there was no attempt to measure reliability or validity of the pattern recognition task.

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