Curiosity and evolution - Deepstash

Curiosity and evolution

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.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Curiosity Depends on What You Already Know

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.

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The paradox of curiosity

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 nourishing and pleasant things in life. But what is the good of deducing the nature of gravity, or of going to the moon?

A simple answer is that we never know if what we learn today might come in handy tomorrow.

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In a 1994 paper, Loewenstein theorized that curiosity’s direction is determined by the “information gap,” the sudden awareness of what you don’t know and the immediate desire to fill that gap.

But for the information gap to set its hook, though, it can’t be too big or too small - Curiosity peaks when subjects have a good guess about the answers, but aren’t quite sure.

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The old view is that curiosity and boredom are opposite ends of the same continuum.

The new view: bored is not to curious as hungry is to full or thirsty is slaked. Rather, boredom is a signal that you’re not making good use of a part of the brain. And there are antidotes to boredom besides curiosity.

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Curiosity

It is the recognition, pursuit, and desire to explore novel, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous events.

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Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. "

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What is it that really drives our curiosity?

Curiosity has several kinds or flavors, and they are not driven by the same things. There is something that has been dubbed perceptual curiosity and epistemic curiosity.

Curiosity is a fundamental human trait. Everyone is curious, but the object and degree of that curiosity is different depending on the person and the situation. 

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