The science of curiosity: why we keep asking "why"
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
Read more efficiently
Save what inspires you
IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. "
Children are extremely curious. They keep asking, "why?" and explore new things just because they want to know.
But research shows that during the schooling years, curiosity steadily declines, and as adults, we fall into fixed and convenient thought patterns.
Research around curiosity found that children at age 5 scored 98% on a creativity test. When the same children took the test at age 10, only 30% scored well on the test. By age 15, only 12% of the same children did well. Less than 2% of adults are defined as creative based on their answer to this standardised test.
Science suggests this decrease in curiosity could be caused when we feel there's no gap between what we know and what we want to know, so we just stop being curious.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
Wonder is said to be a childish emotion. However, as adults, we experience it when gaping at something unexpectedly spectacular.
Adam Smith, an 18th-century moral philosopher, describes wond...
The bodily symptoms of this strange appearance point to three dimensions:
At the mild end of this emotion, we talk about things being marvelous. More intense emotions might be described as astonishing. The extreme of this experiences is met with expressions of awe.
3 more ideas
It is the recognition, pursuit, and desire to explore novel, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous events.
When our curiosity is triggered, we are less likely to fall prey to confirmation bias (looking for information that supports our beliefs rather than for evidence suggesting we are ...
Encouraging people to be curious generates workplace improvements.
When we are curious, we view tough situations more creatively. Studies have found that curiosity is associated with less defensive reactions to stress and less aggressive reactions to provocation.
Curiosity encourages members of a group to put themselves in one another’s shoes and take an interest in one another’s ideas rather than focus only on their own perspective.
Thus, conflicts are less heated, and groups achieve better results.
one more idea
As we get educated and become adults, we get tied up in our accomplishments and careers, following the generally accepted ways of living and behaving in society. We become stuck in a sel...
Playfulness is the lesser-known and under-appreciated antidote to unhappiness, boredom, and stuckness of life.
Playfulness outcompetes worry and anxiety.
Most people find it hard to worry less, so the way out is to find something playful to do, a distraction or a hobby, or get into mindfulness meditation.
6 more ideas
The curiosity we feel when something surprises us or when something doesn’t quite agree with what we know or think we know.
That is felt as an unpleasant state, as an adve...
This is a pleasurable state associated with an anticipation of reward.
That’s our level of knowledge. That’s what drives all scientific research. It drives many artworks. It drives education and other things like that.
Most psychological traits, and curiosity is no exception, have a genetic component to them.
The fact that some people are much more curious than others largely has to do with their genetics. But, as in all cases, genetics is never the whole story.
one more idea
one more idea
Curiosity doesn’t seem to be tied to any specific reward.
It makes sense for organisms to seek food, water, sex, shelter, rest, wealth, or any of the other myriad nour...
From an evolutionary perspective, there’s good reason to keep looking, to be curious. Information helps us make better choices and adapt to a changing environment.
Scientists who study the mechanics of curiosity are finding that it is, at its core, a kind of probability algorithm—our brain’s continuous calculation of which path or action is likely to gain us the most knowledge in the least amount of time. Like the links on a Wikipedia page, curiosity builds upon itself, every question leading to the next. And as with a journey down the Wikipedia wormhole, where you start dictates where you might end up.
Curiosity is less about what you don’t know than about what you already do.
2 more ideas
... is a collection of practices aimed at helping us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment.
Meditation helps to counter our tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve attention.
Larger randomized controlled trials are still needed to understand how meditation might work with other treatments to help people manage attention-deficit disorders.
Long-term, consistent meditation mindfulness changes our ability to handle stress in a better, more sustainable way.
8 more ideas
Things and people that are potentially threatening command attention. Our survival instincts form our fascination with the stories of true crime.
Upon hearing an incident of danger or disaster, our brain's part called the amygdala, that is responsible for emotions, memory and survival tactics is stimulated. It signals our frontal cortex region of the brain to evaluate and interpret the data, invoking the ‘fight or flight’ response.
As humans, we want to know the psychology of the bad people, who are also supposedly just as human as we are.
This creates a curiosity to know more about the deranged, criminal mind, and the other aspects of the scenario, like solving a jig-saw puzzle.
3 more ideas
We have made advances in understanding how the brain works and how it affects human behavior. But no one is able to explain how all this results in feelings, emotions, and experiences.
For much of the 20th century, consciousness was not a serious topic for "serious science." That has changed. The problem of consciousness is a scientific dilemma.
For one, consciousness is unobservable. We know consciousness exists through our immediate awareness of our own feelings and experiences. But you can't look in the head of someone else to see their feelings and experiences.
When we are dealing with data, we can do experiments to test whether what we observe matches the hypothesis. But we are dealing with the unobservable data of consciousness.
The best scientists can do is to correlate unobservable experiences with observable processes. For example, the feeling of hunger is associated with visible activity in the brain's hypothalamus.
But collecting correlations does not explain why conscious experiences correspond with brain activity.
4 more ideas