Stimulating Curiosity: Studies Referenced In The Brilliant Report

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Issue 21 of The Brilliant Report has an article about how to stimulate curiosity through the use of “information gaps.” Here are descriptions of the studies (and one book) it references:

The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation
George Loewenstein
Psychological Bulletin, 1994
Research on curiosity has undergone 2 waves of intense activity. The 1st, in the 1960s, focused mainly on curiosity’s psychological underpinnings. The 2nd, in the 1970s and 1980s, was characterized by attempts to measure curiosity and assess its dimensionality. This article reviews these contributions with a concentration on the 1st wave. It is argued that theoretical accounts of curiosity proposed during the 1st period fell short in 2 areas: They did not offer an adequate explanation for why people voluntarily seek out curiosity, and they failed to delineate situational determinants of curiosity. Furthermore, these accounts did not draw attention to, and thus did not explain, certain salient characteristics of curiosity: its intensity, transience, association with impulsivity, and tendency to disappoint when satisfied. A new account of curiosity is offered that attempts to address these shortcomings. The new account interprets curiosity as a form of cognitively induced deprivation that arises from the perception of a gap in knowledge or understanding.

Why Don’t Students Like School? A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom
Daniel T. Willingham
Jossey-Bass, 2010
Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals-the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences.

‘Information Gap’ Tasks: Do They Facilitate Second Language Acquisition?
Catherine Doughty and Teresa Pica
TESOL Quarterly, 1986
This article reports the findings of the latest of a series of studies conducted to determine the effects of task type and participation pattern on language classroom interaction. The results of this study are compared to those of an earlier investigation (Pica & Doughty, 1985a) in regard to optional and required information exchange tasks across teacher-directed, small-group, and dyad interactional patterns. The evidence suggests that a task with a requirement for information exchange is crucial to the generation of conversational modification of classroom interaction. This finding is significant in light of current theory, which argues that conversational modification occurring during interaction is instrumental in second language acquisition. Furthermore, the finding that group and dyad interaction patterns produced more modification than did the teacher-fronted situation suggests that participation pattern as well as task type have an effect on the conversational modification of interaction.

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One Response to “Stimulating Curiosity: Studies Referenced In The Brilliant Report”

  1. Bill Kuhl says:

    I feel like I am more curious than many people and it often frustrates me that other people are not more curious. But then I also feel like it makes it hard to complete many things I should be doing because my attention is torn in so many directions.

    One example is the hybrid car I purchased a year ago, I am always wanting to know more how the technology works. No doubt I bore many people talking about it because it seems most people could care less. But yet so many people are driving hybrid cars, they just know it takes less gas and pollutes less.

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