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Nushuhr Smith

Research student

Nushuhr Smith

Lancaster University

Fylde College

LA1 4YF

Lancaster

Research overview

In my research I explore curiosity-based learning from an associative learning perspective. Research with adults has shown that when a reliable association between a cue and its outcome is learned we subsequently develop an attentional bias towards this predictive cue. However, in infants we typically observe a novelty effect whereby attention is preferentially captured by novel cues rather than familiar cues. We know that infants learn a vast amount about their environment within the first couple of years of their lives, and that this learning is very much driven by their strong curiosity. Curiosity enhances learning but this type of explorative attentional behaviour is also cognitively more effortful, whilst exploitative attention conserves limited cognitive resources. As such, my interdisciplinary research investigates factors modulating this trade-off between attentional exploitation and exploration, as well as the developmental trajectory of these biases of attention.