1 December 2021

What can curious infants teach us about how we learn?


With a DKK 6.2 million grant from Independent Research Fund Denmark, Cognitive Neuroscientist Katarina Begus will be leading a research project on how infants use their curiosity to learn. The project aims to provide unique insights into how our curiosity develops and helps us learn.

Photo: Katarina Begus

Curiosity has long been considered a crucial, yet elusive, factor of learning in education. Despite its impact on our life and wellbeing, there is little consensus on how to define, measure, or foster curiosity - or on how it brings about learning.

With a new DKK 6.2 million Sapere Aude grant from Independent Research Fund Denmark, Principal Investigator Katarina Begus will study curiosity in infancy, to provide unique insights into the mechanisms of curiosity and how it drives learning.

Previous studies have shown infants as curious and active learners, but what motivates their curious behaviour is still not known.

“How does curiosity develop? And what factors may shape its development? Those are some of the questions we will be asking in the study,” explains Katarina Begus.

The project will study infants during their second year of life, which is when most information seeking behaviours emerge. The researchers will combine multiple experiments using neural measures investigating the mechanisms supporting learning, with measures of infants’ social interactions over time. This is done to provide insights into how individuals come to differ in their information seeking behaviours and learning and how best to foster young children’s curiosity.

“With the results of this project, we hope to inform educators and parents on how to foster supportive learning environments. The work could also be relevant for parents suffering from anxiety or depression, whose infants may be exposed to atypical social input; and to children with developmental disorders, who diverge from typical information seeking strategies,” says Katarina Begus.




Visiting Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Katarina Begus
Centre for Early Childhood Cognition
Department of Psychology
University of Copenhagen

Phone: +45 35324800
E-mail: katarina.begus@gmail.com