Term of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Ty Boyer

Committee Member 1

Karen Naufel

Committee Member 2

Wendy Chambers


Curiosity, or the drive for information and experiences that motivates exploration, plays a role in intellectual development. Curiosity is perhaps essential to education and intellectual achievement, but curiosity research is limited. Curiosity has been thought a motivation for learning and a cause of non-sanctioned behaviors and behavioral disorders. This prompts a connection with decision-making, specifically risky decision-making, perhaps with curiosity as a motivating force. In Experiment 1, college students were primed with curiosity, then participated in a lab-based behavioral measure of risk-taking, the Balloon Analogue Risk Task, and answered self-report inventories concerning risk-taking and curiosity. In Experiment 2, 4th and 5th grade students were primed with curiosity and then participated in a modified version of the BART. In both experiments, risk-taking did not vary as a function of curiosity. Limitations to the current research, and potential avenues for future investigations, are discussed.