Curiosity Psychological Techniques Part I
Three techniques to increase curiosity are increasing the perceived value of information, providing stimulus and mystery along with the opportunity for validation, and effective communication. Most research involved with curiosity primarily focuses on how to encourage learning instead of how to best foster curiosity itself. In the three academic publications used, while only one technique is specified, evidence of a combination of all three techniques were present when increasing curiosity in multiple situations.
Academic Publication #1
- The goal of this publication was to look at if a subject's curiosity would increase by the suggestion that the information would be directly valuable to the subject.
- Experiment One in this publication successfully demonstrated perceived value of the information led to both increased curiosity and information searches.
- Rachit Dubey, Department of Computer Science, Princeton University
- Thomas L. Griffiths, Department of Psychology and Computer Science, Princeton University
- Tania Lombrozo, Department of Psychology, Princeton University
- Subjects read two articles on different scientific topics, and then were given the option to read more facts about each topic. Each topic had a "High-Value" article and a "Low-Value" article.
- The "High-Value" version suggested the scientific topic was of high value to the subject while the "Low-Value" version suggested the scientific topic was of low value. The two topics used were about rats and fruit flies.
- Subjects were split into two groups. One group got the "High-Value" rats article and the "Low-Value" fruit flies article, and the other group received the "Low-Value" rats article and the "High-Value" fruit flies article.
- The subjects rated their curiosity before and after reading their assigned articles, and then had the opportunity to read more facts about either topic.
- Subjects rated themselves as more curious after reading the articles that suggested the information was of high value.
- Subjects requested more information about a topic after reading the article that suggested the topic was of high value.
- The researchers acknowledge that this experiment needed further testing because it is possible understanding drove the effects of increased curiosity and not perceived value. They address that concern in their second experiment.
Academic Publication #2
- Game developers can use certain tools to increase the five types of curiosity in their players. This paper reviews those five types and looks at examples of how to induce curiosity in video game players.
- The five types of curiosity are perceptual, manipulatory, "curiosity about the complex or ambiguous", conceptual, and adjustive-reactive.
- The authors acknowledge that this publication requires further empirical work.
- Alexandra To, Carnegie Mellon University
- Safinah Ali, Carnegie Mellon University
- Geoff Kaufman, Carnegie Mellon University
- Jessica Hammer, Carnegie Mellon University
- The designers stimulate perceptual curiosity by showing players a "novel visual stimulus paired with a mystery to resolve" in the form of a map that displays item locations but no information about what the item is. The authors note that the stimulus can be auditory or visual.
- Game designers stimulate curiosity through the complex and ambiguous. This ranges from providing weapons that behave differently based on the enchantment the player gives it, to making some animals in the game dangerous and others food sources. Players are typically forced to learn about these complexities and ambiguities if they wish to progress through the game effectively.
- Game designers stimulate conceptual curiosity through the use of information gaps and understanding verification. It is not enough for players to learn that terrain affects combat in a game; they must understand how terrain affects combat and then be able to verify if their understand is valid.
- The paper demonstrates through psychological theory and examples from existing video games how controlling the form, context, and delivery of information leads to increased curiosity.
- The combination of a stimulus and mystery with the opportunity for validation was typically the key in inducing curiosity in video game players between several of the examples.
Academic Publication #3
- This study utilized surveys and interviews with nursing educators and nursing students to determine the most effective ways to create a culture of curiosity in the teaching environment.
- One recurring theme identified as a part of encouraging curiosity was effective communication.
- Bedelia Hicks Russell, School of Graduate Studies, East Tennessee State University
- The researcher interviewed eight subjects from three different institutions of higher education to collect information about intellectual curiosity and education.
- From those interviews, the researcher identified "three constitutive patterns and seven relational themes". She then used psychological precedent and data analysis to form the commonalities from the interviews into a cohesive narrative for fostering a culture of curiosity.
- One aspect of fostering a culture of curiosity was effective communication between the student and faculty member when engaging on the topic of interest.
- Effective communication involved commitment, self-awareness, creative inquiry, challenging boundaries, quality improvement, and compassionate intention from both the educator and student.
The research team started by specifically looking for publications rooted in psychology and restricted all search results to academic essays, journals, and reports. Several academic publications were blocked by a pay wall and therefore not used. Several publications focused on increasing learning instead of increasing curiosity. The research team then expended the search to include any academic publication about increasing curiosity outside of a strict scientific context. Techniques were derived by looking at the methods and techniques used in the specific scenarios discussed in the publications with the assumption that techniques used to increase curiosity in one scenario would also be able to increase curiosity in other scenarios.