The Impact Of Technology On Curiosity

CC License: Photo Credit Flickr user Johnragai

CC License: Photo Credit Flickr user Johnragai

Curiosity is the “complex feeling and cognition that accompanies a desire to learn what is unknown,” according to Min Jeong Kang and fellow researchers in a 2009 study. Neurological research here focused on, among other areas, the difference in neural activity when answers are presented, and when questions are presented for both high-curiosity and low-curiosity questions.

What they found (in addition to dilated pupils when answers to questions with high curiosity levels were revealed), was revealing: the “desired level of knowledge increases sharply with a small increase in knowledge, so that the gap between this desired level and the actual knowledge grows.” (Kang, et. al 2009). And conversely, once one is “sufficiently knowledgeable,” the desire for new information decreases. This suggests that a little learning should, neurologically, cause the desire for more learning.

This idea—the proportional relationship between knowing and wanting to know–is the foundation of what is known as the information-gap theory. Of course, most teachers can tell you that it’s not that simple.

How Much Knowledge is Enough?

Admittedly, this all begs the question: how does a student—especially a younger student taking in content and “essential questions” and standards they’ve never heard of and thus incapable of natural curiosity about—know when they’ve learned enough? The research never went into this sociological question, but it likely has something to do with norm-referencing with chosen social groups.

Please follow the link below to read the remainder of this great article!

The Impact Of Technology On Curiosity.


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“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

- John Maxwell

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