If it's important, then I'm curious: Increasing perceived usefulness stimulates curiosity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Curiosity is considered essential for learning and sustained engagement, yet stimulating curiosity in educational contexts remains a challenge. Can people's curiosity about a scientific topic be stimulated by providing evidence that knowledge about the topic has potential value to society? Here, we show that increasing perceptions of ‘social usefulness’ regarding a scientific topic also increases curiosity and subsequent information search. Our results also show that simply presenting interesting facts is not enough to influence curiosity, and that people are more likely to be curious about a scientific topic if they perceive it to be useful personally and socially. Given the link between curiosity and learning, these results have important implications for science communication and education more broadly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105193
JournalCognition
Volume226
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • Curiosity
  • Education
  • Intervention
  • Science communication
  • Social curiosity
  • Utility-value intervention

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