The Unexpected Consequence of a Curious Mind

Curiosity can be good for you!

John Tenniel - Illustration from The Nursery Alice (1890) - 066110Research shows that curiosity improves learning and memory for things we are not even interested in.

From nursery school through graduate school we try to give the “correct” answers on tests. While those answers may have validity, if they are the only things we learn, our lives are limited to what someone else decides we should know or think. Unfortunately, we aren’t taught to ask questions that would expand what we learn.

That is why I was pleased to read an article in Psychology Today titled “The Secret Benefits of a Curious Mind.”

It reinforced the idea behind my second book,  Ask Yourself Questions and Change Your Life, which is that when we learn to ask questions, we expand our understanding of the world beyond what we have learned in school and have acquired from the limited experience of family and friends.

In fact, a recent study in the field of cognitive neuroscience from the University of California provides surprising insights into the interesting link between asking ourselves questions — which is curiosity about ourselves — and other learning and memory. In other words, there is now solid evidence that, in the very act of being curious, we can learn things we hadn’t even intended to learn. It is as though curiosity begets curiosity.

The article quotes Albert Einstein as saying, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” In other words, he attributed his intelligence and success to having a curious mind. Now it seems that there is evidence that we, too, can improve our minds simply by being curious!

So if you are curious about learning more about recent research on the topic, check out the Psychology Today article for evidence that a curious state of mind improves learning and memory for things we are not even interested in.

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