Are we hard-wired to be curious?

Source: Nilay pati via Wikimedia Commons

 

Resolving our curiosity is both something we’re willing to pay a cost for and that has a clear and understandable signature in the brain.

Curiosity has been said to be a form of intrinsically motivated search for information or knowledge. But how could we test this out?

What if you were shown a brief preview of an upcoming event, and you couldn’t in any way influence the outcome: would you be curious to know what happened? Would you be more curious if the preview was more ambiguous?

Five cognitive neuroscientists recently teamed up to tackle this question. The approach they used was at once surprisingly simple, and surprisingly elegant.

The preview image that the researchers used was a picture of a “lottery vase.” For example:

Source: W. Koutstaal based on van Lieshout et al, 2018

—> For more please see Wilma’s: “Why do you ask?”

 

What makes for good creative feedback?

Pliable Feedback?  Source: Tequask via Wikimedia Commons

 

We’ve all been there.  Imagine it with me now.  You’ve been working and thinking hard, and now that first version of your latest work or creative effort is done.  Now it’s time to put it out there to show it to your coworkers, or to your friends, or to the rest of your team.  It’s time for someone else to comment on your work, giving their impressions on what you’ve done.  It’s time to ask for feedback.

How does the process of asking for feedback on our drafts and our emergent ideas shape our creative process?  And what, exactly, makes for “good” feedback?

—> For more see: “Are You Using Open Questions as Springboards to Creativity?”

Are inquiring minds creative minds? Does curiosity catalyze creativity?

Source:Ronald Keith Monro via Wikimedia Commons

 

We all have likely seen them, at one time or another:  the job advertisements calling for curiosity as part of the desired “package of qualities” of the successful applicant.  The ways in which curiosity is described might differ.  But the message is much the same:  what is needed is (choose the one that most resonates with your past encounters) –– a passion for learning; a thirst for knowledge; an inquiring mind; hands-on curiosity –– paired with innovative and creative thinking, and an ability to think “outside the box.”

The connection between curiosity and creativity seems so clear and obvious, that we scarcely notice that these two different qualities have been linked together.  But what is the empirical evidence for their association?  How closely connected are they, really?  And, if they are associated, what is the direction of their connection:  Does curiosity fuel creativity?  Or does having a creative cast of mind catalyze curiosity?

Despite our intuitive sense that there should be a strong association between curiosity and creativity, only recently has the nature of the connection between them begun to be systematically probed.

For more see: Creativity –– What’s Curiosity Got to Do with It?