People often seek new information and eagerly update their beliefs. Other times they avoid information or resist revising their beliefs. What explains those different reactions?
Answers to this question often frame information processing as a competition between cognition and motivation. The paper by Arie Kruglanski, Katarzyna Jasko, and Karl Friston attempts to dissolve this dichotomy by bringing together two theoretical frameworks: epistemic motivation and active inference. Both frameworks attest to the indispensability of motivation, which can be decomposed into two basic types. The first basic dimension describes a need for an unambiguous, precise answer to a question, regardless of that answer’s specific content. Second dimension concerns a need for the specific content of one’s beliefs and prior preferences. Together, they explain diverse epistemic behaviors, such as seeking, avoiding, and biasing new information and revising and updating, versus protecting, one’s beliefs, when confronted with new evidence.
The paper has just been published by ‘Trends in Cognitive Sciences’: https://www.cell.com/