BERLYNE'S DEMONSTRATION OF EPISTEMIC CURIOSITY: AN EXPERIMENTAL RE-EVALUATION

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Abstract

Berlyne demonstrated the existence of epistemic curiosity by showing that subjects given a questionnaire and then a set of statements including answers to the questionnaire recalled more of these answers than subjects not given the questionnaire. Methodological limitations of this experiment suggested that it should be replicated, and certain extensions of the design were also made. The three experiments reported here confirm Berlyne's findings with improved methods and also show that recall was not influenced by the completion of an irrelevant questionnaire but was facilitated to an uncertain and minor degree by completion of a questionnaire containing questions related to but not identical with the items on the recall test. The present results support Berlyne's concept of epistemic curiosity, but they suggest that it is relatively specific to the content of the questions used to arouse it.

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