Curiosity and Exploration. Theories and Results by Hans-Georg Voss

By Hans-Georg Voss

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On the matter of evaluation of stimulus information, the authors agree on medium ranges of unknown stimulus material. , on the basis of a stimulus similarity scale) is lacking. New concepts, such as Helson's (1964) adaptation level, should be included in both theoretical and empirical considerations. Corresponding elements are evident on the behavioral side. 1 A Comparison of Three Theories Berlyne Initial state Stimulus factors Organism factors Information processing Comparison Meaningfulness Psychological consequence Behavior Additional assumptions Adaptation Stimulus search Other points End state Organism factors McReynolds Livson Collative variables Physiological apparatus Incongruent stimulus Cognitive structure Complexity level Medium-strong uncertainty Hedonistic quality Conflict Medium deviation Optimal uncertainty Drive activation Specific exploration Diversive exploration Drive satisfaction by information gain Personal meaningfulness Disturbed structure Motivational and adaptive components Novelty-adapting behavior Novelty-seeking behavior Goal-oriented novelty-seeking behavior Balanced schemes through reorganization of cognitive structure Information processing capacity Uncertainty Noticing curiosity Seeking curiosity Examining curiosity, productive curiosity Equilibrium by information gain of a unified concept of curiosity, which all authors aspire to.

All this brings to mind correlations between curiosity and creativity; even though Livson himself does not comment on this aspect. Similarities can easily be seen in the approaches described here. An uncertainty caused by confrontation between an individual and a stimulus event is reduced by information gain; this reduction (formulated explicitly or implicitly) has a reinforcing effect. All authors see the processes of uncertainty reduction in a similar way. Special attention is given to the stimulus as an important variable in triggering exploratory behavior.

Surely the goal-oriented novelty-seeking behavior of McReynolds is not far from the concept of appetence behavior in ethological conceptions. Further assumptions within the framework of a drive concept are needed. Livson's concept of productive curiosity is doubtlessly close to creative behavior, although he fails to differentiate the two fields clearly. The fact that organisms sometimes find themselves in situations of stimulus saturation or monotony is described by the class of stimulusseeking behavior.

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