The New Science of Curiosity


Goren Gordon
Curiosity Lab, Department of Industrial Engineering, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Series: Psychology of Emotions, Motivations and Actions
BISAC: EDU009000

Curiosity is the foundation of childhood development and continues on into adulthood; it is the cornerstone of scientific discovery, art and play. In the past, the study of curiosity has been mainly restricted to the field of psychology. Recently, a new science of curiosity has emerged that is multidisciplinary, applicative, and transformative. In this book, some of the leading researchers of this emerging field give a comprehensive background description, explain in detail the state-of-the-art advances, and raise future-looking insights into curiosity. The book includes accounts of new neuroscientific research of curiosity, computational models of infant-like robots, thought-provoking insights into knowledge and wisdom, and curious social robots that play with curious children.

Furthermore, applications of The New Science of Curiosity in art and game-design highlight the importance of these new approaches to fields outside science. The New Science of Curiosity also has a great impact on our day-to-day lives, described in the book regarding the medical profession and the educational system.

The New Science of Curiosity holds great promise for a better, deeper, and more comprehensive understanding of this elusive, yet crucial, aspect of human cognition. Only a multi-disciplinary diverse approach, as presented in this book, holds the key to unlocking the mysteries of exploration, seeking and investigative experiences of our grandiose dreams and daily lives.


Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Toward a Neuroscience of Information Sampling and Curiosity (pp. 1-36)
(Jacqueline Gottlieb)

Chapter 2. The Desire for Knowledge and Wisdom (pp. 37-42)
(Russell Golman and George Loewenstein)

Chapter 3. Computational Theories of Curiosity-Driven Learning (pp. 43-72)
(Pierre-Yves Oudeyer)

Chapter 4. Curious Robots for Curious Children (pp. 73-110)
(Goren Gordon, Samuel Spaulding, Susan Engel
and Cynthia Breazeal)

Chapter 5. Curiosity and Encounters with Works of Art: Developing a Situated, Diachronic and Systemic
Vision of Curiosity in a Museum Setting (pp. 111-152)
(Dounia Lahoual, Pauline Gourlet, Anne Bationo-Tillon and Françoise Decortis)

Chapter 6. Curiosity for Human-Machine Interaction: Curious Architecture (pp. 153-168)
(Dana Kulić, Matthew T. K. Chan, Rob Gorbet
and Philip Beesley)

Chapter 7. Integrating Curiosity and Uncertainty in Game Design (pp. 169-202)
(Alexandra To, Safinah Ali, Geoff Kaufman
and Jessica Hammer)

Chapter 8. Physician’s Curiosity: Myriad Benefits in the Clinical Encounter and Beyond (pp. 203-224)
(Ami Schattner)

Chapter 9. Exploring the Structure and Roles of Curiosity in Education and Well-Being (pp. 225-242)
(Kazuji Nishikawa and Toshihiko Amemiya)

Chapter 10. Curiosity in Schools (pp. 243-266)
(Jamie J. Jirout, Virginia E. Vitiello and Sharon K. Zumbrunn)

About the Editor (pp. 267-268)

Index (pp. 269)


“Human curiosity and its contribution to art, science and discovery have long been a subject of study. Drawing on findings from robotics, neuroscience, human development and computation as well as case studies of curiosity in educational, professional, medical and cultural settings, this edited book provides a wealth of new findings and a renewed sense of excitement about this classic topic.”  – Paul L. Harris, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

“A fabulous book of leading research from the top scientific minds exploring something we are all curious about – curiosity. Gordon has brought together some of the most influential scientists in the world, shedding light on the multi-faceted nature of our intrinsic drive to learn and its role in human development, science, and even art. It is an important text for those hoping to catch up on the most recent science of curiosity, and a must read for anyone wondering about why we wonder.”  – Elizabeth Bonawitz [Assistant Professor Psychology, Rutgers University – Newark

“A timely and critical journey into the advancement of curiosity, from the neuroscience, to the support from technologies and the impact on society.”  – Bo Stjerne Thomsen, Global Head of Research, the LEGO Foundationz

Keywords: Curiosity, Neuroscience, Computational models, Robots, Game Design, Education.

The audience are educators, artists and scientists of all fields that want to catch-up with new advancements of curiosity research. It can also be approachable to lay-people with interest in popular science and multidisciplinary thinking.

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