Importance of Curiosity
Eleanor Roosevelt, first Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, quoted about the importance of curiosity: “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”
Curiosity is important because it stimulates life long learning and supports intellectual development, is the foundation of creativity influencing all aspects of the creativity change model, creativity components and supports creativity skills and attitudes.
- 1 Curiosity Stimulates Life Long Learning
- 2 Enhances Intellectual Development
- 3 Curiosity: The Foundation of Creativity
- 4 Curiosity Cultivates Personal Satisfaction & Empathy for Others
- 5 References
Curiosity Stimulates Life Long Learning
Children are born naturally curious and with the desire to explore the world. Their curiosity drives them to explore the environment around them, such as their home's, friend's and school's environment. Curiosity can be the key to learning since " exploring one's interests will motivate learning". This natural learning process has been translated into many teaching models.
One of the Teacher’s purposes is to stimulate student's curiosity. As a result the student will acquire a more creative attitude and this will inspire them to learn more and more. Suggested activities include questioning, increasing awareness, confronting ambiguities and uncertainties, and making the strange familiar or making the familiar strange.
Enhances Intellectual Development
A basic definition of intelligence is the "ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations". Without curiosity, defined as "the desire to know‟, an intelligent student would lack the motivation to learn. Thus, curiosity (the desire to know) plays an important role in the intellectual development.
From a neurological/physiological perspective, the brain grows when new connections are made. New connections are made by interactions and thoughts such as those motivated by curiosity – discovering challenges, taking advantage of opportunities, stimulating the senses, and interacting with others. The more often a connection is made, the more easily it is to make that connection. Learning throughout life stimulates the brain causing it to continue to grow and develop.
Curiosity: The Foundation of Creativity
There is a fundamental link between curiosity and creativity. Csikszentmihalyi clearly stated “the first step toward a more creative life is the cultivation of curiosity and interest” in recognition of how critical curiosity is to creativity.
We develop the connection between curiosity and creativity by the use of the Creative Change Model adaptation of the four Ps model of creativity(creative process, people, press, product).
Figure 1: Curiosity and the Creative Change Model: A Systems Approach (adapted from Puccio, Murdock & Mance, 2007)
Fundamental Aspect of the Creative Process
Torrance (1994, from 1978) defined creativity as “a process of becoming sensitive to or aware of problems, deficiencies, and gaps in knowledge for which there is no learned solution". Moreover he points out that a person's motivations are important to complete this definition with "curiosity and wanting to know in the face of wonder, incompleteness, confusion, complexity, disharmony, disorganization, or change".
The creative problem solving (CPS) process as outlined in Puccio, Murdock & Mance (2006) is a multi-step process from assessing the situation, exploring the vision, formulating challenges, exploring ideas, formulating solutions, exploring acceptance and formulating a plan. Curiosity-driven questioning is important at all stages in the CPS process. The creative process is based on asking questions to define the problem (Who? What? When? Where? Why), generate ideas (What if? making the strange familiar and the familiar strange) and plan for action (Who? What? When? Where?) .
Core to Creative People
Davis (2004) identified curiosity as one of the sixteen well researched creative personality traits. The curious people have some creative characteristics such as asking many questions, experimenting, seeking for interesting situations, wondering, having wide interests, etc.
Establishes a Creative Climate
Some of the climate factors, outlined by Ekvall (1996), are important to foster a creative environment: Challenge, freedom, idea support, trust/openness, dynamism/liveliness, playfulness/humor, debates, lack of conflicts, risk taking, and idea. A curious attitude (willingness to take risks) will enhance seven of the ten dimensions ((i.e., challenge, freedom, openness, dynamism/liveliness, playfulness/humor, risk taking, and idea time). A curious person often adopt some of these characteristics and probably he or she will develop a creative environment. A curious person will follow it's desire for exploration, playfulness and willingness to take risks.
Benefit to Innovation
The outcome of creativity is the creative product or the innovation that occurs . Because curiosity is at the root of creativity, the more curious people are, and the more they engage their curiosity throughout the creative process, the more original and innovative the result ..
Curiosity Cultivates Personal Satisfaction & Empathy for Others
Curiosity is very powerful in enhancing one‟s engagement in and perception of their life and of other people. Curiosity increases life satisfaction, personal achievement and well being. Cameron quoted that "...Exploration leads to accomplishment" and he tries to give an explanation why curiosity is highly connected with our personal satisfaction. Moreover, as Torrance quoted "Viewing the world with a creative attitude and a sense of curiosity strongly influences one’s future accomplishments". Curiosity increases our learning, reduces our defensiveness towards new ideas,and identify activities that will make our life meaningful. Thus, curiosity is essential for our personal well being and satisfaction. Ryan & Deci (2000), in their work on self-determination theory, found that intrinsic motivation and curiosity supported skill development, activities become easier, aspirations and ultimately, well being increases.
- Walsh Sharon, "Curious about Curiosity?" (2006). Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Projects. Paper 74.Pages 20.
- Walsh Sharon, "Curious about Curiosity?" (2006). Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Projects. Paper 74.Page 21
- Walsh Sharon, "Curious about Curiosity?" (2006). Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Projects. Paper 74.Page 22
- Walsh Sharon, "Curious about Curiosity?" (2006). Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Projects. Paper 74.Page 23
- Walsh Sharon, "Curious about Curiosity?" (2006). Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Projects. Paper 74.Page 24
- Walsh Sharon, "Curious about Curiosity?" (2006). Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Projects. Paper 74.Page 25
- Walsh Sharon, "Curious about Curiosity?" (2006). Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Projects. Paper 74.Page 30