“Curiosity killed the cat”, according to an old saying. This gives curiosity a bad rap, but odds are that the proverbial cat was being more nosy than curious
Being curious is not the same as being nosy. Nosy individuals overstep lines in their eagerness to know more about other people’s business. Curious people, on the other hand, develop an open attitude towards the world that comes with many benefits.
Curiosity Makes Us Happier
Research has established a link between curiosity and higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety and more satisfaction with life. These observations have a biological basis. In fact, our brains seem to be wired to pursue novelty: New discoveries cause the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure.
Curiosity Boosts Academic Achievement
Curiosity leads to greater involvement in school and higher school achievement. When we feel genuine curiosity about a topic, we feel compelled to learn more about it, and memorizing becomes easier as well (as you’ll see below). Those factors combined result in better grades that encourage students to maintain a curious mindset.
A state of constant curiosity can help you memorize even details that you find boring, but can be particularly useful. In a 2014 study, researchers from the University of California, Davis, gave participants a series of trivia questions asking them to rate their interest in knowing each answer. After each question there was a 14-second delay where the participants were shown an unrelated face. The results demonstrate that participants were better at learning random information when their curiosity level was high.
Curious people try to learn more about those around them. This includes individual feelings and thoughts, but also cultural traits and worldviews. As a result, curious people develop greater empathy, which is crucial for establishing relationships and behaving compassionately. In the world of business, empathy translates into more sales, improved engagement and enhanced collaboration.
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