Curiosity

VARIABLES: Conflict, Individual difference, Motivation, Organizational, Personality (anxiety, anger, depression, fear)

In a document prepared by Marilyn P. Arnone, Information about the Center for Digital Literacy Surveys, several scales are described, two of which contain reference to curiosity:

  • Intrinsic Motivation to Engage in Research (IMR) [aka: Feelings About Doing Research]
  • The Dispositions for Learning Scales (DLS Version 1.0)
DOMAINS: Business, Computer Science, Education (Information Literacy, Digital Literacy), Health, Journalism (Kashdan, 2004), Leadership, Library Science, Politics (Kashdan, 2004), Psychology
Contributors:  Pat McKenna          
DEVELOPERS
Daniel Ellis Berlyne

BACKGROUND

Chronological Mapping of Curiosity Theory Development -

A theory of human curiosity is advanced by D. E. Berlyne (1954) with a focus on what he refers to as 'epistemic curiosity' rather than 'perceptual curiosity' and concern with "why certain pieces of knowledge are more ardently sought and more readily retained than others". (p. 180) Berlyne observes "the paradoxical fact that curiosity seems to be evoked most uniformly by situations that are new and strange." (p. 182) Reviewing the work of other researchers he finds that "factors mentioned so far do not adequately explain the most striking cases of curiosity-arousal, those concerning the strange, the unusual, the puzzling. To attempt an explanation of this side of human nature, we shall have recourse to another variable, conflict." (p. 184) Continuing on, he reasons that "If conflict is a drive, the reduction of conflict will be reinforcing, and it will provide the explanation for the rewarding value of investigating things that are puzzling and the learning of knowledge resulting from this investigation. Epistemic curiosity also will thus be attributable in many cases to a similar mechanism." (p. 185) Berlyne includes an interesting discussion on 'learned incompatibility' (p. 186). "Human 'epistemic curiosity', ... is defined as a drive reducible by knowledge-rehearsal. An analysis of epistemic curiosity, using a behavior- theory approach, is presented, its principal features being (1) an account of questions as 'thematic probes' which evoke drive-producing meaning-responses, and (2) the attribution to learned conflict of the curiosity aroused by strange, surprising or puzzling situations or questions." (p. 189)

Curiosity Map


Tentative References:

Ambient information, in a paper entitled A time to glance: studying the use of mobile ambient information reference is made to curiosity when, in a discussion on 'Micro-Moments', a user is quoted as saying "I looked at it mainly out of curiosity". However,the authors note that As we had hoped, many interactions with these systems served a greater purpose than curiosity. (p. 3)

Theoretical perspectives:

  •  Ainley, Mary D. (1987) - Breadth and depth types of curiosity

  • Amabile, Barsade, Mueller and Straw (2005) - "A preliminary theory of the affect-creativity cycle in organizations"

  • Arnone and Grabowski (1992) - How curiosity is demonstrated by a child

  • Arnone, Grabowski, and Rynd (1994) - How curiosity is demonstrated by a child

  • Arnone and Reynolds (2009) - Information-seeking context with the scale referred to as "Making Sense of Things"

  • Arnone, Reynolds and Marshall (2009) - Dispositions for Learning Scales (DLS)

  • Arnone, Reynolds and Marshall (2009) - Intrinsic Motivation to Engage in Research (IMR) scale, also referred to as Feelings About Doing Research

  • Berlyne (1959) - Epistemic curiosity; (1960) - theory of exploratory behavior and responses to stimuli

  •  Beswick and Tallmadge (1971) - Leaning in the context of cognitive process theory of curiosity

  •  Burns and Gentry (1998) - "Tension-to-learn theory" based on the constructs of curiosity and absorptive capacity

  • Chak (2002) - Children's curiosity and exploration through the lenses of Lewin's Field Theory

  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990) - Focusing our attention on something around us will generate interest

  • Day (1982) - "Zone of Curiosity", "Exploration is self-rewarding"; (1971) How curiosity is demonstrated by a child

  • Deci (1985) - Intrinsic motivation

  • Di Blas and Poggi (2007) - Virtual world research in the in the area of curiosity, interest, and engagement with an emphasis on engagement:  "We argue that virtual reality can highly enhance virtual communities by producing a strong effect of social presence, i.e., the impression of being together with other participants"

  • Feist (1998) - Intellectual curiosity

  • Gorlitz (1987) - "Learners will become anxious if the stimulus is too complex, too uncertain, too novel"

  • Hensley, Randy Burke (2004) - Attempts to define curiosity and creativity in the context of information literacy

  • Kashdan (2004) - Measures of curiosity and related constructs, meta-analysis details on curiosity

  • Kashdan and Fincham (2004) - Design and implementation of curiosity interventions within a transactional framework

  • Kashdan, Rose and Fincham (2004) - Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI) with 2 dimensions: exploration (appetitive strivings for novelty and challenge) and absorption (full engagement in specific activities)

  • Litman and Jimerson (2004) - Personality traits " Curiosity as a feeling of deprivation (CFD) reflects feelings of uncertainty and tension that motivate information-seeking and problem-solving behavior.  Subscales developed: (a) a need to feel competent, (b) intolerance experienced when information is inaccessible or inadequate, and (c) a sense of urgency to solve problems "

  • Litman, Jordan A. and Sylvia, Paul J. (2006) - Interest and deprivation curiosity dimensions

  • Litman and Speilberger (2003) - Epistemic curiosity (EC) and perceptual curiosity (PC) measurement using curiosity scales of State-Trait Personality inventory (STPI) and subscales of Sensation Seeking (SSS) and Novelty Experiencing (NES)

  • Loewenstein (1994) - Reviews the 1st (1960s) and 2nd (1970s and 1980s) waves of research on curiosity and offers a new account that "interprets curiosity as a form of cognitively induced deprivation that arises from the perception of a gap in knowledge or understanding"

  • Maw and Magoon (1971) - "Contention that curiosity is a behavior genuinely important in a complex technological society"

  • Maw and Maw (1965) - "High-curiosity children and boys, in particular did select outgoing, investigatory activities significantly more frequently than did low-curiosity children and girls, in particular"

  • Menon and Soman (2002) - Internet advertising - 4 element curiosity advertising strategy: (1) curiosity generation by highlighting a gap in extant knowledge, (2) the presence of a hint to guide elaboration for curiosity resolution, (3) sufficient time to try and resolve curiosity as well as the assurance of curiosity-resolving information, and (4) the use of measures of consumer elaboration and learning to gauge advertising effectiveness

  • Naylor (1981) - State-trait curiosity inventory

  • Pearson, P.H. (1970) - Novelty Experiencing Scale (NES)

  • Peterson, C. and Seligman (2004)  - Curiosity (Interest, novelty-seeking, openness  to experience) - [Feist also refers to this!!]

  • Reio and Callahan (2004) - Relates curiosity to socialization-related learning and job performance.  Also reference Interruption theory.

  • Reiss (2004) - Theory of 16 Basic Desires and the multifaceted nature of intrinsic motivation

  • Renner, Britta (2006) - Social Curiosity Scale (SCS)

  • Schmidhuber, Jürgen (2010) - Artificial curiosity theory - "believes algorithms can be written that allow the programming of curiosity itself".  Singularity Summit  "in our research, virtual and real worlds actually complement each other. We use machine learning and artificial curiosity to learn or improve simulations of the real world, then train the robot in the sim to achieve desirable goals".  "Fundamental Principle of Artificial Curiosity and Creativity: Reward the reward- optimizing controller for actions yielding data that cause improvements of the adaptive predictor or data compressor! (Formulated in the early 1990s; basis of much of the recent work in Developmental Robotics since 2004) "

  • Small, Ruth V. (1998) - relates curiosity theory to library and information skills instruction

  • Small and Arnone (2000) - Curiosity as hook

  • Speilberger (1979) - State Trait Personality Inventory (STPI)
  • Swann, William B., Stephenson, Blair, and Pittman, Thane S. (1981) - Information seeking and control using a 'control-deprivation' variable

  • White (1959) - concept of "competence"  - "It furthers the learning process of effective interaction with the environment. While the purpose is not known to animal or child, an intrinsic need to deal with the environment seems to exist and satisfaction ("the feeling of efficacy") is derived from it."

  • Yannakakis and Hallam (2007) - "Alternative quantitative approach to entertainment modeling; Feedforward neural networks (NNs) and fuzzy-NNs are used to model player satisfaction (interest) in real-time and investigate quantitatively how the qualitative factors of challenge and curiosity contribute to human entertainment."

  • Zuckerman, Kolin, Price, and Zoob. (1964).  Sensation-Seeking Scale (SSS)

Operationalizations of curiosity:

  • How curiosity is demonstrated by a child - Maw and Maw (1965); Day (1971); Arnone and Grabowski (1992); Arnone, Grabowski, and Rynd (1994)

  • Children's curiosity and exploration - Chak (2002) - though the lenses of Lewin's Field Theory

  • Information-seeking context - Arnone and Reynolds (2009)  "operationalized curiosity in this study specifically for an information-seeking context" with the scale referred to as "Making Sense of Things".  In their words "curiosity is studied as a disposition that is driven by the need for competence".

  • Internet advertising - Menon and Soman (2002)  4 element curiosity advertising strategy: (1) curiosity generation by highlighting a gap in extant knowledge, (2) the presence of a hint to guide elaboration for curiosity resolution, (3) sufficient time to try and resolve curiosity as well as the assurance of curiosity-resolving information, and (4) the use of measures of consumer elaboration and learning to gauge advertising effectiveness

Other Findings and Implications:

Relationship to Other Theories:

Curiosity, Artificial - Schmidhuber, Jürgen (2010) - Artificial curiosity theory - "believes algorithms can be written that allow the programming of curiosity itself.  What's interesting? Many interesting things are unexpected, but not all unexpected things are interesting or surprising. According to Schmidhuber's formal theory of surprise & novelty & interestingness & attention & creativity & intrinsic motivation, curious agents are interested in learnable but yet unknown regularities, and get bored by both predictable and inherently unpredictable things. His active reinforcement learners translate mismatches between expectations and reality into curiosity rewards or intrinsic rewards for curious, creative, exploring agents which like to observe / create truly surprising aspects of the world, to learn novel patterns".  Singularity Summit  "in our research, virtual and real worlds actually complement each other. We use machine learning and artificial curiosity to learn or improve simulations of the real world, then train the robot in the sim to achieve desirable goals".  "Fundamental Principle of Artificial Curiosity and Creativity: Reward the reward- optimizing controller for actions yielding data that cause improvements of the adaptive predictor or data compressor! (Formulated in the early 1990s; basis of much of the recent work in Developmental Robotics since 2004) "

Interest Theory - Ainley (1998) makes a connection between interest in learning and curiosity and many other researchers reference curiosity as well.  In the ARCS Motivation Model Small (2009) refers to curiosity and interest in the context of Extrinsic-Intrinsic Orientation, Day's 'zone of curiosity' "characterized by excitement, interest, and exploration to resolve the conceptual conflict " and the need for "research ... to identify instructional strategies that help achieve that optimal level of arousal (zone of curiosity) ... during the information search process".

REFERENCES ~ Coding Spreadsheet - Web View

Theoretical Perspectives:

Subpages (1): Curiosity Files
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