Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Previous research has indicated that the level of curiosity of an individual is related to the amount of information which that individual can acquire incidentally. The present study was conducted to test two hypotheses: (a) High curiosity children will learn more material incidentally than low curiosity children, and (b) the level of curiosity will effect intentional learning.

Twenty-eight fifth grade students (14 high curious, 14 low) were selected as subjects from a pool of 77 on the basis of scores attained on the Penney and McCann (1964) Children’s Reactive Curiosity Scale. The intentional learning task was a paired-associate presentation of nine stimulus-response items using the anticipation method. The incidental cues were colored borders on the stimulus response cards of the intentional task. The intentional task was run to a criterion of two perfect recitations. When a subject reached criterion on the intentional task, he was asked to recall the incidental cues from each card.

No differences were found between groups on the intentional or the incidental learning tasks. The failure to find differences is explained in terms of Postman's (1964) Intrinsic-Extrinsic Stimulus Hypothesis.