How children search for knowledge: development of cognitive and neural mechanisms

Tali Sharot (primary)
Experimental psychology
Tessa Dekker (secondary)
Experimental Psychology


Children spend a substantial amount of time seeking knowledge about the world around them. What are the rules that guide this search and how do they alter with development? The PhD project will use computational methods to investigate the mechanisms of information search behaviour from a developmental perspective. Using fMRI we will examine the neural signals that represent the value of information in the brain’s reward system. In addition, we will use physiological measures such as SCR to measure arousal, and eye tracking to determine where children are searching and to examine arousal via pupil dimension.


Sharot, T. & Sunstein C.R., (2020). How People Decide What They Want to Know. Nature Human Behaviou

Charpentier, C., Bromberg-Martin E., & Sharot T. (2018) Valuation of Knowledge and Ignorance in Mesolimbic Reward Circuitry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(31), E7255-E7264.r, 1-6.

Vellani, V., de Vries, L.P., Gaule, A., Sharot, T. (2020). A selective effect of dopamine on information-seeking. eLife, 9, e59152.

Moutsiana, C., Garrett, N., Clarke, R.C., Lotto, R.B., Blakemore, S.J. & Sharot, T. (2013) Human development of the ability to learn from bad news. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(41), 16396–16401.

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
Image ProcessingMathematics / StatisticsSimulation / Modelling