Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

Give Me a Clue: A Curious Study


Hugh Leonard, Aimee Miller, Fred Pasquarella


Steven Frieze, Instructor of Psychology , California State University Dominguez Hills

Curiosity has been consistently recognized as a critical motivational resource that influences human behavior and is a major impetus for exploration and information acquisition. However, research into curiosity is amazingly limited. Most scholars agree that curiosity is an approach oriented motivational state aroused by the factors of novelty, complexity, uncertainty, and conflict. Curiosity is highly intrinsic in nature and tends to reflect an anticipatory state of reward upon resolution of one’s curiosity. Our study suggests that the experience of curiosity can be tempered by the results obtained upon resolution. Our research utilized a two by two factorial designed experiment. The experiment examined the effects of diminished and elevated states of curiosity and successful and unsuccessful task completion on affect and subjective experience. The methodology involved an interactive task where each participant was directed to find classroom items based on clues given to them. Each condition was tailored to enable the manipulation of curiosity and task completion. The affective states and subjective experiences of the participants were measured upon completion of the task. It is hypothesized that states of high curiosity will elicit more positive subjective experiences and higher levels of positive affect than conditions in which curiosity is diminished. Participants who experience success will also rate their experience as more positive and evaluate their affective state more positively, as compared to an experience of failure. Participants who experience elevated states of curiosity would be in a greater state of arousal and thus experience an inflated sense of success or failure respectively. The study looks to delineate the positive affect produced by curiosity to offer insights into why curiosity is an enduring resource. Understanding feelings related to curiosity and achievement will aid teachers, students, scholars, and anyone who values learning.

Presented by:

Aimee Miller


Saturday, November 17, 2012


2:00 PM — 2:15 PM


Bell Tower 2572

Presentation Type:

Oral Presentation