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Metacognitive states and feelings of curiosity: information-seeking behaviors during momentary retrieval-failure




McNeely-White, Katherine L., author
Cleary, Anne M., advisor
Seger, Carol A., committee member
Henry, Kimberly, committee member
Blanchard, Nathaniel, committee member

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Curiosity during learning increases information-seeking behaviors and subsequent memory retrieval success, yet the mechanisms that drive curiosity and subsequent information-seeking behaviors are poorly understood from a theoretical perspective. Hints throughout the literature suggest that curiosity may be a metacognitive signal, encouraging the experiencer to seek out additional information that will resolve a knowledge gap. Furthermore, a recently demonstrated association between a retrieval- failure-based metacognitive state (the tip-of-the-tongue state) and increased feelings of curiosity points toward an adaptive function of these states. The current study examined the relationship between curiosity and the retrieval-failure-based metacognitive states déjà vu and déjà entendu. Participants received test lists containing novel visual environment cues (Experiment 1) or novel isolated tonal sequence cues (Experiment 2) for previously studied episodes. Across both experiments, participants gave higher curiosity ratings during target retrieval failure to cue stimuli that contained previously encountered features. Further, higher curiosity ratings were given during reported déjà vu or déjà entendu, and these states were associated with increased expenditure of limited resources to discover the answer. The full pattern suggests that déjà vu and déjà entendu may drive curiosity, serve adaptive roles in encouraging further search efforts, and that curiosity may emerge due to feature-matching familiarity-detection processes.


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