Curiosity: primate neural circuits for novelty and information seeking

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


For many years, neuroscientists have investigated the behavioural, computational and neurobiological mechanisms that support value-based decisions, revealing how humans and animals make choices to obtain rewards. However, many decisions are influenced by factors other than the value of physical rewards or second-order reinforcers (such as money). For instance, animals (including humans) frequently explore novel objects that have no intrinsic value solely because they are novel and they exhibit the desire to gain information to reduce their uncertainties about the future, even if this information cannot lead to reward or assist them in accomplishing upcoming tasks. In this Review, I discuss how circuits in the primate brain responsible for detecting, predicting and assessing novelty and uncertainty regulate behaviour and give rise to these behavioural components of curiosity. I also briefly discuss how curiosity-related behaviours arise during postnatal development and point out some important reasons for the persistence of curiosity across generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


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