Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How Curiosity Changes the Brain and Enhances Learning

How Curiosity Changes the Brain and Enhances Learning

".....The findings yielded three major conclusions regarding curiosity and changes in the brain: First, those who are highly curious put forth the effort to seek out the answers to a particular question are better at learning the information. Although, a seemingly obvious finding, this led researchers to discover that the more an individual’s curiosity is aroused the more likely he/she is able to learn unrelated information; i.e., information they may not have been interested in the first place.

A second finding shows that once curiosity is stimulated in the brain there is increased activity in the areas related to reward. The brain’s reward circuit relies on dopamine which acts as a “chemical messenger that relays messages between neurons.” Curiosity is an intrinsic motivator that triggers the brain’s reward circuit in a similar manner that would be observed with extrinsic motivators, according to the researchers.
And lastly, along with stimulating the brain’s reward circuit, curiosity also increased activity in the brain’s hippocampus -an area that helps to form new memories. The increased interactions between these two areas in the brain lead to increased learning and retention....."

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