When making decisions, we rely on different kinds of memory. How does the brain decide which to use? New research suggests it depends on uncertainty. Read more about the research here

To celebrate the essential work postdocs do to move science forward, the Zuckerman Institute asked several post-docs to sit down with them and share the big questions they think about. In this video, meet Katie Insel, PhD, discusses her work investigating what makes the brains of adolescents different from those of adults. Check it out here.

You can find the paper here and can read an article by the Zuckerman Institute about the paper here 


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of understanding and managing information seeking behavior. Information-seeking in humans is often viewed as irrational rather than utility maximizing. Here, we hypothesized that this apparent disconnect between utility and information-seeking is due to a latent third variable, motivation. We quantified information-seeking, learning, and COVID-19-related concern (which we used as a proxy for motivation regarding COVID-19 and the changes in circumstance it caused) in a US-based sample (n = 5376) during spring 2020. We found that self-reported levels of COVID-19 concern were associated with directed seeking of COVID-19-related content and better memory for such information. Interestingly, this specific motivational state was also associated with a general enhancement of information-seeking for content unrelated to COVID-19. These effects were associated with commensurate changes to utility expectations and were dissociable from the influence of non-specific anxiety. Thus, motivation both directs and energizes epistemic behavior, linking together utility and curiosity.