How to Stimulate Curiosity

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By Annie Murphy Paul
Published April 8, 2013, The Brilliant Report

Curiosity is the engine of intellectual achievement—it’s what drives us to keep learning, keep trying, keep pushing forward. But how does one generate curiosity, in oneself or others? George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, proposed an answer in a classic 1994 paper, “The Psychology of Curiosity.”

Curiosity arises, Loewenstein wrote, “when attention becomes focused on a gap in one’s knowledge. Such information gaps produce the feeling of deprivation labeled curiosity. The curious individual is motivated to obtain the missing information to reduce or eliminate the feeling of deprivation.” Loewenstein’s theory helps explain why curiosity is such a potent motivator: it’s not only a mental state but also anemotion, a powerful feeling that impels us forward until we find the information that will fill in the gap in our knowledge.

Here, three practical ways to use information gaps to stimulate curiosity. Read the full blog post.