Curiosity makes waiting hard. In 2015, some neuroscientists published a study on curiosity in monkeys.
The animals played a gambling computer game, with a drink of water as the prize. They chose between two gambles. The length of a bar on the screen told them how big each prize would be. After choosing, they had to wait several seconds to find out whether they won, and were curious during the wait.
But how did the scientists know that? They can’t ask the monkeys.
Thirst For Knowledge
When they picked their gamble, monkeys could opt to find out right away whether they had won, by way of a red or green light. They still had to wait just as long for the prize. The scientists learned that monkeys place a high value on satisfying their curiosity. They chose to find out, even when the bar told them that it would make their prize smaller by a quarter.
In monkeys and humans, the brain’s frontal lobes are involved in making decisions.
The scientists wanted to learn how electrical activity in these areas encodes factors involved in decisions, like the need to satisfy curiosity.
“Curious Monkeys Share out Thirst for Knowledge” (University of Rochester)
“Monkeys are So Curious They’ll Trade Prizes for Knowledge” (Tech Times)
“Mammals: Monkey” (San Diego Zoo)
“Frontal Lobe” (The Brain Made Simple)
“Understanding the Science of Curiosity” (University of Rochester)