Authors: Bethany Garvin, Saloni Krishnan.

Article: Curiosity-driven learning in adults with and without dyslexia.

Publication: Open Science Framework (OSF) 2020

[Full Text]


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.

Tagged as: adult dyslexia, curiosity, motivation, verbal memory, and visual memory

Excerpts from Full Text / Notes:
In summary, this study shows that curiosity is ndiminished in those with dyslexia, including for challenging verbal material. This strongly indicates that adults with and without dyslexia find visual and verbal information rewarding, and is the first demonstration of this effect in
those with dyslexia. Consistent with the available literature on curiosity and memory, our findings also indicate a close relationship between states of high curiosity and enhanced
memory – but only for visual stimuli. This indicates that stimulating curiosity in individuals with and without dyslexia could have beneficial effects on visual memory, a finding which could be very important for classroom practice. In contrast, for verbal stimuli, memory was
related to information prediction errors (IPEs), or the discrepancy between satisfaction with received information, and expressed curiosity about the item. Additionally, the relationship between IPEs and memory was attenuated in those with dyslexia. These findings strongly point to a need to look at the link between information seeking and memory in dyslexia. One
interesting open question is whether generating visual imagery for verbal questions may enhance memory for verbal learning in this group

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