Goren Gordons’ research focus is on the intersection of artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, education and engineering. He studies curiosity using a formal mathematical framework which attempts to explain curiosity-driven behavior in children. The same framework is: (i) implemented in social curious robots that learn about themselves and people around them; (ii) used to assess children’s curiosity, and (iii) used to construct improved curriculum. The social curious robots are then introduced as social companion learners for children, in the attempt to promote learning and curiosity during long-term interaction and play.
My plans for the fellowship period
During the fellowship period, I plan to further my research into the psychological and educational aspects of the mathematical formalism of curiosity. Initially, I plan to develop novel quantitative model-based digital assessment app games that enable the assessment of different aspects and instantiations of expressions of curiosity. The games will be developed in an entertaining fashion that will be tailored to varied age groups, ranging from 5-12 years old. This battery of assessment apps will be then used in a large age-varied cohort of children, in order to assess the age-dependent dynamics of curiosity. The study will be conducted in at least two schools, so as to maintain a coherent educational environment (within each school) and cultural and socio-economic diversity (between the schools). Once an age- and cultural-dependent curiosity baseline has been established, I plan to introduce social curious robots as an interventional strategy, such that children will be influenced by the curiosity driven behavior of the social robot. A post-interventional curiosity assessment will then be conducted to evaluate the effects of the intervention.
How will my work change children’s and youth’s lives?
In the Information Age, where knowledge is just a click away, curiosity, which is the intrinsic drive to learn, is much sought for. However, it has been shown that expressions of curiosity decline with age, on average, and the educational system has been suggested as the culprit. My work attempts to study the dynamics of curiosity with an extremely broad breadth and scope. Using quantitative model-based digital assessment app games, I plan to assess children’s expressions of curiosity in many different aspects across a wide age range and in multiple cultural-varied locales. This will increase our understanding of the different dynamics of curiosity. Furthermore, using the novel interventional tool of social curious robots I have developed in recent years, I plan to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of social curious robots as learning companions for children. The goal is to promote expressions of curiosity in children in age range of 5-12 years old, while being in the formal educational system. Hopefully, my work will enable a better understanding of this precious commodity of curiosity and will bring forth a novel, entertaining and effective interventional tool for promotion of curiosity, in the form of social curious robots.