Day’s Zone Model of Curiosity

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Contributors

Stefania Dangila

William James describes a type of curiosity in his book, The Principles of Psychology, which "is an instinctual or emotional response, in which attention is aroused by seeing something new. You may have observed animals faced with an unfamiliar object: they approach to explore it, retreat because they’re not sure whether it’s safe, approach again—it could be food—retreat, approach again, and so on. Their willingness to explore the unfamiliar results in their becoming more knowledgeable about their surroundings. But they are somewhat fearful because exploring the unfamiliar can just as easily lead to danger. So, curiosity may lead to exploration, but it also creates anxiety." [1] Borowske mentions the quote of William James in her article in order to point out that there must be a balance between the absence of curiosity and the Excessive Curiosity. To support this she uses a model from Day, which is described as the "Zone of curiosity". [2]

[2]

What we can conclude from the model is that the level of stimulation is significant[1]:

  • If it is too low, there will be no motivation to explore. In this "Zone of Relaxation" a person is disinterested to search and explore new things. He suffers from lack of curiosity.
  • If it is too high, it will result in anxiety. In this "Zone of Anxiety" a person is defensive and also he avoids exploring new things because he is overwhelmed by Excessive Curiosity, which is impossible to control and direct.
  • If it is just right, it will result in exploratory behavior. This is the desirable "Zone of Curiosity".

For further information regarding the role of Curiosity in the Adaptive Cycle go back to Group 2 Student Lecture.


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kate Borowske,(2005). Curiosity and Motivation-to-Learn
  2. 2.0 2.1 Marilyn P. Arnone, (1995). Arousing and Sustaining Curiosity: Lessons From the ARCS Model, 3.

Contributors

Stefania Dangila