Thirst for knowledge: The effects of curiosity and interest on memory in younger and older adults

Psychol Aging. 2015 Dec;30(4):835-41. doi: 10.1037/a0039801. Epub 2015 Oct 19.


Given age-related memory impairments, one's level of curiosity or interest could enhance memory for certain information. In the current study, younger and older adults read trivia questions, rated how curious they were to learn each answer, provided confidence and interest ratings, and judgments of learning after learning the answer. No age-related differences in memory were found. Analyses indicated that curiosity and interest contributed to the formation of judgments of learning. Additionally, interest had a unique increasing relationship with older, but not younger, adults' memory performance after a one-week delay. The results suggest that subjective interest may serve to enhance older adults' memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Exploratory Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Knowledge*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology
  • Young Adult