Learn with curiosity

We are born questioning, but when answers are valued more than questions, we forget how to ask. Here’s how to relearn an old manner. As children, we’re naturally unique. It is how we grow and discover, but by the time school starts that sense of surprise is lost.

“Answers are more valued than inquisitive thought, and interest is trained out of us,” says Hal Gregersen,
founder of the 4-24 Project, an organization that questions leaders to spend four minutes a day requesting better questions. “The average six to eighteen-year-old asks only one mystery per one-hour class per month. Contrast that with the average teacher, who peppers kids with 291 questions a day and waits an average of one second for a reply.”

But recovering our sense of curiosity is important to our progress: “We’ve moved out of the technical era and into the learning era. Curiosity is a fundamental piece of that work and an important tool,” says Kathy Taberner, co-founder of the Institute of Curiosity, a leadership coaching team that focuses on curiosity.

Curiosity arises, Loewenstein wrote, “When consciousness becomes focused on a gap in one’s knowledge. Such information gaps produce the feeling of need identified as the curiosity. The unique individual is motivated to obtain the missing information to decrease or eradicate the feeling of privation.” Loewenstein’s theory helps explain why curiosity is such a powerful motivator: it’s not only a subjective state but also an emotion, a strong feeling that compels us forward until we find the knowledge that fills the gap.


Recently, a researcher from the University of California, Davis conducted a series of experiments to find what precisely goes on within the brain once our curiosity is aroused. For the study, the researchers had participants rate however curious they were to find out the answers to quite a hundred small queries, like "What Beatles single lasted longest on the charts, at nineteen weeks?" or "What will the term 'dinosaur' really mean?" At some points throughout the study, MRI scans were administered to visualize what was happening within the brain once participants felt notably interested in the solution to an issue.


Research: The researchers found that, once the subjects' curiosity had been piqued by the proper question, they were higher at learning utterly unrelated data. One among the study’s coauthors, Dr. Matthias Gruber, explains that this can be as a result of curiosity puts the brain in a very state that enables it to be told and retain any reasonable data, sort of a vortex that sucks in what you're actuated to be told, and conjointly everything around it.


Aside from getting ready the brain for learning, curiosity may build learning an additional rewarding expertise for college students.

Research: The researchers found that once the participants' curiosity had been sparked, there wasn't solely enhanced activity within the hippocampus, which is that the region of the brain concerned with the creation of recollections, however conjointly within the brain circuit that's associated with reward and pleasure. This circuit is that the same one that lights up once we get one thing we actually like, like candy or cash, and it depends on monoamine neurotransmitter, a "feel-good" chemical that relays messages between neurons.