Curiosity: Does It Matter?
Sat, April 10, 2021

Curiosity: Does It Matter?

Curiuos people tend to learn faster. / Photo credit by Wavebreak Media Ltd via 123RF

 

 

Curiosity is an innate human instinct ignited at birth. By age three, the persistent “whys” and “hows” start coming nonstop: ‘Why is the sky blue?’ or “Why do eyes water?” or the classic "How are babies made?” Curiosity is a basic facet of the thinking process, however provoking and awkward it may be.

Science reveals that when people are at their most curious, the integral parts of the brain like the hypothalamus, an essential part of the limbic system regulating emotions and storing memories, are triggered This is the reason why learning becomes easier and better. Curiosity helps to solidify memories.

Why Curiosity is Important

People desire happiness and meaningful lives. This can be achieved with the right attitudes and behaviors, the most substantial of which is curiosity. Being curious actively makes people interested to genuinely want to know more about something, providing opportunities and experiences to explore and enjoy. Studies show that life is better when people are curious. The following are evidence-based reasons why curiosity improves quality of life.

 

 

Curiosity is the dynamo of intelligence and learning. Studies show that those who are more curious tend to learn faster, as it primes the brain for learning. George Loewenstein, a famous psychology professor, purports that curiosity is both a mental and emotional state that pushes people to satisfy and complete knowledge gaps.

Curiosity is something valued among friends. Being curious about life, friends show more empathy and exert more effort to keep things fun. A study by a University in Buffalo concluded that the scale of curiosity is directly related to opportunities for personal growth.

Curiosity establishes the depth of a relationship in new encounters. A study reveals that people who are more curious find greater life satisfaction. The life of a curious person is a fantastic whirl of adventures, rich in new ideas and new explorations for new possibilities.

Studies have also found that being open to new experiences keeps the mind active and alert. Taking on novel experiences takes them out of familiar routines, helping preserve their mental faculties later in life. The mind becomes stronger with exercise, and curiosity is the best mental exercise.

Curiosity, in short, is stimuli for learning, greatly influencing the decision-making process crucial for healthy development.

The Different Types of Curiosity

 

 

Psychologist Daniel Berlyne distinguished the types of curiosity normally displayed by humans along two dimensions: perceptual versus epistemic and specific versus diversive. Perceptual curiosity refers to the driving force that stimulates people to search for innovative stimuli that diminish with prolonged exposure. It is the main driver of exploratory behavior in both human and non-human animals.

On the other hand, epistemic curiosity is the drive intended to access information-bearing motivations capable of retrieving information-bearing stimuli and capable of dismissing doubts as well as acquiring new knowledge (e.g., concepts, ideas, and facts) expected to stimulate intellectual interest or eliminate conditions of informational deprivation.

The second dimension of curiosity that Berlyne described is informational specificity. Specific curiosity refers to the need for a piece of particular information while diversive curiosity refers to the general need for perceptual or cognitive stimulation. Both specific and diversive curiosity are species-general information-seeking behaviors.

Cultivating Curiosity

 

One of the things wherein someone can enhance their curiosity is to not be afriad of asking quaestions. / Photo credit by Anna Grigorjeva via 123RF

 

The progressive demands of the world make it imperative for people to stay intellectually curious. In the spirit of this pursuit, here are some suggestions on how curiosity can be enhanced.

1. Keep an open mind. It is essential to be open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Some things, ideas, and concepts you know and believe might be wrong, so be ready to accept this possibility and change your mindset.

2. Don’t take things for granted. Dig deeper to understand the world better. Scratching the surface is not enough.

3. Ask questions relentlessly. Do not be afraid to ask all sorts of questions, even what may seem to be dumb ones. Sometimes, the dumbest questions can be the most powerful. These can unlock communication. The true friends of curious people are what, why, when, who, where, and how questions.

4. Don’t label something as boring. Labeling something as boring closes more doors of possibilities. Keep as many doors open and explore. Think of learning as something fun and view life through technicolor glasses. Life is an adventure to be uncovered, appreciated, and enjoyed.

5. Rub and polish your brain against others. Get out and commune with others. New ideas, concepts, lessons can be derived from simply talking with other people.

6. Read widely and follow your interests. Do not confine yourself to only one world. Explore as many worlds as possible. The easiest way to do this is through reading diverse kinds of materials that can introduce you to possibilities and interests beyond your wildest dreams. Pick a book or a magazine and feed your mind with the excitement of a new world.

Curiosity is great news. Delve deeper into everyday things and appreciate their significance. There is much to learn from everyone and everything!