Katarina Begus

Katarina Begus

Tenure Track Assistant Professor

Current research

Office hours: Wednesdays 11:00-12:00

My current project, funded by The Independent Research Fund Denmark, will investigate curiosity, its mechanisms, and its development.

Much of human behaviour is aimed at obtaining information, from reading a book to exploring new planets. This motivation for exploring and learning has enabled us to master our environment, discover and innovate, and is one of the main reasons for the fast progress of our species. However, although humans are characteristically curious, individuals differ greatly in how much information we seek and consume. Importantly, these differences affect how we learn, and are evident from early in development. Despite its impact on our life and wellbeing, there is little agreement on how to define, measure, or foster curiosity, nor on how it brings about learning. Why are we propelled to acquire new information? What are the mechanisms in our brain that best explain this? And what are the factors that shape how curious individuals are?

This project will explore three potential mechanisms that may drive information seeking behaviours, and how these mechanisms are implemented in the brain. Moreover, these processes will be studied in babies, in the year when the first active information seeking behaviours emerge and are shaped by infants’ interactions with their environment. Doing so offers the exciting opportunity not only to uncover how curiosity works in the human brain and drives learning in general, but also how it develops, and what factors may influence its development.

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