Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 02:40

Curiosity

Children peer over shoulders to see what their friends are reading.
Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed. ~ Joseph Addison.
Man in his universe is like a baby in a strange room. Just as a baby reaches out to finger or state all the mysterious objects in the room. So man’s curiosity is excited by the wonderful sights, sounds, and smalls that greet him whichever way he turns.- Ginestra Glovene Amaldi.
Fortitudo, 1470, by Sandro Botticelli -Curiosity is one form of feminine bravery - Victor Hugo.

Curiosity is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in human and many animal species. The term can also be used to denote the behavior itself being caused by the emotion of curiosity. As this emotion represents a thirst for knowledge, curiosity is a major driving force behind scientific research and other disciplines of human study.

SourcedEdit

  • Curiosity, the overwhelming desire to know, is not characteristic of dead matter. Nor does it seem to be characteristic of some forms of living organism, which, for that very reason, we can scarcely bring ourselves to consider alive.
    • Isaac Asimov, "Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations", p. 481.
  • Curiosity is inherent in man; and, in some measure, accompanies every degree of human understanding, and every modification of the mind. From the philosopher to the peasant, scarcely any one is found who is not desirous of information on one subject or the another; but this curiosity is directed to different objects, in different minds, in proportion to their degrees of elevation, or the extent of their previous improvements.
    • John Bigland, in “Letters on the Study and Use of Ancient and Modern History”, p. 18.
  • The first and the simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is Curiosity. By curiosity, I mean whatever desire we have for, or whatever pleasure we take in, novelty.
    • Edmund Burke, in "The Works of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke: With a Biographical and Critical Introduction, and Portrait After Sir Joshua Reynolds, Volume 1", p. 30.
  • ...those things, which engage us, merely by their novelty, cannot attach us for any length of time, curiosity is the most superficial of all affections; it changes its object perpetually, it has an appetite which is very sharp, but very easily satisfied; and it has always an appearance of giddiness, restlessness, and anxiety.
    • Edmund Burke, in "The Works of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke: With a Biographical and Critical Introduction, and Portrait After Sir Joshua Reynolds, Volume 1", p. 30.
  • Each window like a pill'ry appears,
    With heads thrust through nail'd by the ears.
  • Perhaps one day men will no longer be interested in the unknown, no longer tantalized by mystery. This is possible, but when man loses his curiosity one feels he will have lost most of the other things that make him human.
  • Youths’ insatiable curiosity is soon squelched and its breadth of view quickly forced into the furrow cut by the plow of convention.
  • Energy and curiosity are the lifeblood of universities; the desire to find out, to uncover, to dig deeper, to puzzle out obscurities, is the spirit of the university, and it is a channelling of that unresting curiosity that holds mankind together.
  • So blind is the curiosity by which mortals are possessed, that they often conduct their minds along unexplored routes, having no reason to hope for success, but merely being willing to risk the experiment of finding whether the truth they seek lies there.
  • Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
    • Walt Disney, As quoted in the ending credits of the movie Meet the Robinsons (2007) and also in Jane Sutcliffe Walt Disney, Lerner Publications, 2009, p. 45.
  • The poorest of the sex have still an itch
    To know their fortunes, equal to the rich.
    The dairy-maid inquires, if she shall take
    The trusty tailor, and the cook forsake.
  • The primary relationship between the infant and the care-giver influences the development of curiosity, the ability to use it productively for thinking and for building the internal world. Curiosity, in its schizoparanoid forms, is an attempt at freezing states of primary undifferentiatedness. In its more mature forms, it serves as an integrative agent and signifies both the possibility and the need to know, as well as the boundaries of knowledge. It is an essential element in the individual's psychic fabric and counterbalances splitting and projective identification.
  • By allowing curiosity and surviving it, curiosity is transformed from an expression of destructiveness and disintegrating intrusiveness to a necessary prerequisite for psychological growth, self-discovery and creativity. Several vignettes illustrate the impact of curiosity during therapy.
    • Ofer G, Durban. in "Curiosity: reflections on its nature and functions: Abstract".
  • The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when contemplating the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of the mystery every day. The important thing is not to stop questioning; never lose a holy curiosity.
The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards. - Anatole France.
  • Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no fibs.
  • Percunctatorem fugito, nam garrulus idem est.
    • Shun the inquisitive person, for he is also a talker.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 18. 69.
Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision - Aldous Huxley.
  • Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.
  • Rise up, rise up, Xarifa! lay your golden cushion down;
    Rise up! come to the window, and gaze with all the town!
  • The basic drive behind real philosophy is curiosity about the world, not interest in the writings of philosophers. Each of us emerges from the preconsciousness of babyhood and simply finds himself here, in it, in the world. That experience alone astonishes some people. What is all this — what is the world? And what are we? From the beginning of humanity some have been under a compulsion to ask these questions, and have felt a craving for the answers. This is what is really meant by any such phrase as "mankind's need for metaphysics."
    • Bryan Magee, Confessions of a Philosopher : A Journey Through Western Philosophy (1997), p. 232.
  • I saw and heard, for we sometimes,
    Who dwell this wild, constrained by want, come forth
    To town or village nigh, nighest is far,
    Where aught we hear, and curious are to hear,
    What happens new; fame also finds us out.
  • Platon estime qu'il y ait quelque vice d'impiété à trop curieusement s'enquerir de Dieu et du monde.
    • Plato holds that there is some vice of impiety in enquiring too curiously about God and the world.
    • Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Book II, Chapter XII.
  • Zaccheus, he
    Did climb the tree,
    His Lord to see.
    • New England Primer (1814).
  • Curiosité n'est que vanité. Le plus souvent, on ne veut savoir que pour en parler.
    • Translation: Curiosity is nothing more than vanity. More often than not we only seek knowledge to show it off.
    • Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 152. (1669).
First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity. - George Bernard Shaw/
  • We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
  • Incitantur enim homines ad agnoscenda quæ differuntur.
    • Our inquisitive disposition is excited by having its gratification deferred.
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistles, IX. 27.
  • Curiosity killed the cat
  • I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness.
China is an old nation with a colourful history. Its booming economy has triggered an appetite and a curiosity around the world for its art and culture, one that continues to grow. I can, however, tell people that it is a show with no actor. - Ai Weiwei/

Curiosity and ExplorationEdit

Susan Edelman, Curiosity and Exploration, California State University, Northridge, spring 1997

  • Curiosity is defined as a need, thirst or desire for knowledge. The concept of curiosity is central to motivation. The term can be used as both a description of a specific behavior as well as a hypothetical construct to explain the same behavior.
  • The Conceptual Framework of Curiosity and Exploration: In face of the large number of terms relating to curiosity and exploration … a lot of confusion is caused by the fact that the term curiosity is used as both a description of a specific behavior as well as a hypothetical construct to explain this same behavior in organismic terms.
  • Four central issues of curiosity are: definition and dimensionally, cause, voluntary exposure to curiosity, and situational determinants. A fifth issue is of superficiality and intensity. Curiosity can arise, change focus or end abruptly and despite its transience, curiosity can be a powerful motivational force. Curiosity often produces impulse behavior and attempts at self control.
    • G. Loewenstein (1994), in "The Psychology of curiosity: A review and reinterpretation". Psychological Bulletin, 116(1):75-98.
  • Classified measures of curiosity into two categories. First, curiosity is viewed as a motivational state and measured with behavioral indices. Second, he conceptualizes curiosity as a personality trait that is assessed by personality measures.
    • R. Langevin (1971), in "Is curiosity a unitary construct?" Canadian Journal of Psychology.
  • At the conceptual level there are numerous definitions of curiosity which tend to encompass a broad range of characteristics. Boredom is one prerequisite or motivation for curiosity (exploration).
    • H.Fowler (1965), in "Curiosity and Exploratory Behavior". New York: Macmillan.
  • The biological function of curiosity as a mechanism of instinct driven behavior that serves in approaching new objects. Approach and exploration are described as being characteristic forms of behavior. The second kind of curiosity pointed is "scientific curiosity" and "metaphysical wonder" with which "the practical instinctive root has probably nothing to do" rather "the philosophical brain responds to an inconsistency or a gap in its knowledge.
    • W. James (1950), in "Principles of Psychology". New York: Holt.(original work published 1890).
  • Sensation seeking is defined as the seeking of varied, novel, complex and intense sensations and experiences, and the willingness to take physical, social, legal, and financial risks for the sake of such experiences.
    • M.Zuckerman (1994), in "Behavioral Expressions and Biosocial Bases of Sensation Seeking". New York: Cambridge University Press.
Petroglyphs, dating back to 10 000 BCE and indicating a thriving culture - Cultures generally vary both in attitudes towards exploration and information seeking as well as in the range of situations allowing the expression of the various manifestations of exploration and curiosity, this is especially true for the sensation-seeking motive...- D. O. Hebb.
  • Cultures generally vary both in attitudes towards exploration and information seeking as well as in the range of situations allowing the expression of the various manifestations of exploration and curiosity, this is especially true for the sensation-seeking motive. Curiosity seeking behavior poses a paradox for drive based accounts of curiosity. Drive is not simply a state the decrease of which is rewarding. At high levels the reduction of drive is rewarding, but at low levels, an increase may be rewarding. stations]] of exploration and curiosity, this is especially true for the sensation-seeking motive. Curiosity seeking behavior poses a paradox for drive based accounts of curiosity. Drive is not simply a state the decrease of which is rewarding. At high levels the reduction of drive is rewarding, but at low levels, an increase may be rewarding.
    • D. O. Hebb (1955), in "Drives and the C.N.S. (Conceptual Nervous System)". Psychological Review, 62:243-245.
  • Curiosity refers to a motivation inherent in information processing. This means that curiosity is a mixture of cognition and motivation. The main principle, which is equally as important as the drive reduction hypothesis is the establishment and maintenance of an optimal amount of incongruence. Incongruence determines the strength, direction and affective qualities of behavior.
    • J. McV. Hunt (1963), in "Motivation Inherent in Information Processing and Action". In: Motivation and Social Interaction: Cognitive Determinants. New York: Ronal.
  • Sensation is the seeking of varied, novel, complex and intense sensations and experiences, and the willingness to take physical, social, legal, and financial risks for the sake of such experiences.
    • M.Zuckerman (1994), in "Behavioral Expressions and Biosocial Bases of Sensation Seeking". New York: Cambridge University Press.

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