What is a scientific curiosity?

What do you think it means to be curious? Scientists believe that curiosity is one of the personality traits. Each of us has it expressed in its own way. It turns out that some people are interested in others, knowledge or sensations more than others. Or not? Curiosity has several advantages, but it is also associated with risk. To understand what curiosity is and what advantages it brings, scientists turned their eyes to the brain.

Each of us is curious in his own way.


  • 1 How are curiosity and brain related?
  • 2 The Relationship Between Fear and Curiosity
  • 3 What is common between curiosity and personality type?
  • 4 How to use curiosity?

How are curiosity and brain related?

Has it ever happened to you that you studied a topic,which is not interesting to you, and then discovered that you do not remember anything about it? In fact, there is a scientific explanation for this - according to research, being in a state of curiosity increases our ability to remember interesting information. But if you have to study something that does not interest you at all, it will be extremely difficult to remember what exactly you studied.

Do you consider yourself curious? Tell us about topics that interest you in the participants of our Telegram chat and ask what they are interested in.

This may seem obvious. If you are interested in something, you pay more attention to it. Which, in turn, facilitates memorization. However, the effect of curiosity on the brain is much more complex. When something seems curious to us, memory becomes better. As a result, we even better remember what we are not particularly interested in. It is no secret that curiosity is associated with learning and this connection can be seen. Curiosity leads to activation of several areas of the brain known as the hippocampus (responsible for memory) and black matter (responsible for positive emotions).

The connection between fear and curiosity

Some experts in the past believed thatcuriosity has developed as an instinct that helps us adapt to new conditions, prompting research. However, this seems to contradict other theories that suggest that we are afraid of the new because of the potential danger that something may carry within us that we knew nothing about before.

Curiosity is associated with risk and thirst.

It seems that curiosity and fear may beprovoked by the same situations, and curiosity sometimes outweighs the fear of exploring something new. In some people, fear may be partially responsible for awakening curiosity. We know that the systems in the brain associated with receiving rewards are activated when we are interested. This indicates that curiosity is a kind of thirst for more information. At the same time, curiosity is associated with risk, stress tolerance and the search for thrills.

What is common between curiosity and personality type?

According to studies, some people experiencecuriosity is more or more intense than others. But is curiosity only a personality trait? Experts suggest that all people are equally curious, but each person experiences an “individual curiosity,” which manifests itself in an interest in specific things or situations. Scientists call this the "type" of curiosity.

    Researchers identify two types of curiosity that are well researched:</ p>
  • Epistemic curiosity - it describes a person’s desire to receive new information, such as facts, concepts or ideas. Such curiosity seeks to remove knowledge gaps.
  • Social curiosity - describes a person’s passion and affection for how other people think, act and feel.

In a recently published study, scientiststhey wanted to understand whether the work of the brain is different in people with different types of curiosity. Professionals were also interested in whether the moment of curiosity causes activity in the same areas of the brain that explain how curious the person as a whole is.

There are several types of curiosity: epistemic and social

According to preliminary results, scientistsidentified an important area associated with epistemic curiosity, but not with other types. This is the arch of the brain - a structure that connects the hippocampus and areas of the brain associated with learning, finding information and research. The more we are interested in information in general, the better are the connections in the brain that are responsible for learning, finding information and motivation.

Check what information best quenches your curiosity, you can our channel in Yandex.Zen.

How to use curiosity?

This study can help us understand howit’s better to use curiosity in the real world, for example, at work and in educational institutions. Since the vault of the brain is associated with improved learning, this suggests that we should strive to create a learning environment that helps research ideas and find information. It is important to remember that curiosity makes our memory and makes the brain work better.