Along with being open to new experiences, being curious makes it more likely that you discover new and interesting knowledge which can then be combined in a creative way. A 2019 meta-analysis of 2,692 individuals showed that there was a strong positive link between being more curious and being more creative.
It is also fundamental to developing a growth mindset and being motivated to try new things.
However, many people feel like their curiosity decreases as they get older. This has been backed up by research that shows that indeed, curiosity levels appear to decrease as we age, especially for new experiences which stimulate us.
Curiosity is also likely to be lower in groups who do no feel like their basic needs are being met, or who are experiencing uncertainty, and this even happens in animal populations which show that captive animals which had to worry less about safety or finding food were significantly more curious.
Can curiosity be enhanced?
So the question then becomes, if curiosity decreases as we get older, is there anything we can do in order to improve it again?
According to some research which was just published in 2022, the answer is YES.
A meta-analysis by Schutte and Malouff looked at the impact which curiosity-enhancing activities, like training, ways of presenting information or workshops, had on a sample of more than 4,496 participants in 41 controlled scientific trials.
They found that these activities significantly increased curiosity, and were valid across age ranges and durations.
There were a number of different ways which the various trials attempted to improve curiosity, such as:
- Providing people autonomy on what topics to find out more about
- Making some information mysterious
- Mindfulness training to become less judgemental of new information
- Making some activities more game-based
- Parents modelling curiosity in front of their children
- Making objects interactive
The great news is that by finding ways to make people engage with new information in new, potentially unexpected ways, we can improve not only their curiosity specific to what they are interacting with, but potentially their overall curiosity as well.
This in turn might just help them being more open to being creative in other aspects of their lives too.
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