Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know that curiosity is developed kinda on it's own. You don't know when you'll become curious. But is it possible to train one's mind to become curious about certain subject? I've seen titles and tips on "how" to become curious, but I don't think those "X steps" will make someone's mind budge.

Is it possible to sort of prime oneself to become curious? Mind priming seams powerful for certain things, and it's only thing that I thought could work. Again, priming mind that knows it's gonna be primed sounds rather tricky.

Note: I know the question is messy,so please,do correct me and tag appropriately if needed . :)

share|improve this question
    
Can you bring an example of what you want to get curious about? And can you also tell why you want to be curious about it? –  SBel Jun 12 at 18:59

5 Answers 5

I am not expert in cognitive science but I can guess curiousity is kind of cognitive process which makes a necessary to know something. Curiousity is kind of that to want to know. Think which things make you to want to know more. It is dependent of individual values, beliefs and usefulness. So, I think things which make you to want to know more are often contract of your values or beliefs and, additionally, if things are useful for you. My tips are: think the thing, which you want to be curious of, from lots of perspectives until you add contract ideas for your values/beliefs and until you get ideas why things would be useful for you. They may motivate you to want to know more (to be curious).

share|improve this answer
    
I see your point. The thing is, sometimes my beliefs about myself diminish curiosity for a certain subject, so I would like to secure it somehow or make myself curious about it again, whether I know something about the subject,or even find it useful. But your answer is good,non the less. :) –  JunJun Apr 22 at 12:26

Here's another approach: Typically, we are curious about things that are deemed "off limits," i.e. the Bible's forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. If you tell yourself what your are interested in is "wrong" or not appropriate for you to be interested in, maybe that will spike your interest? I am just guessing :)

share|improve this answer
1  
I like the idea.Never thought of it in such way, that something off limits is sometimes what people get curious about. I was somewhat younger the last time I wanted something off limits (which I realize only now). I think there is one thing that I can test this on. Maybe it'll work. Thank you for a lovely idea. :) –  JunJun Apr 22 at 18:17
1  
You're welcome. Thanks for your lovely questions! I was wondering this, too, recently. –  user1477388 Apr 22 at 18:22

On a related note, I attempted an answer on the question: What causes a person to be curious, inquisitive and explorative?

Context

The younger generations (like mine) have developed in an over-stimulated environment. We are no longer satisfied nor amazed by simple things. As budgets for show-business and entertainment companies grew, so did our standards for amazement and wonder. [1]

In our increasingly complex world, the amount of information required to master any particular discipline — e.g. computers, life insurance, medicine — has expanded geometrically. We are forced to become specialists, people who know more and more about less and less. [2]

Like this quote denotes, I sometimes feel that everything is already explored or have been done before. This vision often cause a reflex to search for existing answers before even tackling a problem on my own.

He continues by saying that we are not going to school because of an initial desire to learn and understand the world, but because the existing world wants us to learn what it considers important:

In this frightening new world, students do not turn to universities for mind expansion but vocational training. [2]

Factors of influence

Motivation (in any flavor) can be influenced by personality characteristics, environmental factors and social situations. For example, there is a negative correlation between being in a depressed state and demonstrating curiosity in general.

It has been suggested that a decline in curiosity is one characteristic manifested by depressed individuals. [...] Results indicated that subjects made temporarily depressed reported significantly less state curiosity, perceived value of information, and desire for additional knowledge than elated or neutral subjects. [3]

Now if we look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it seems obvious that people with less satisfied needs are not naturally led to be curious. This implies that any society, family or individual that never approves the work of others, that can't provide security or food to its members doesn't provide an environment suitable for curiosity to develop. Maslow's hierarchy of needs

There might also be physiological and developmental predispositions to grow up curious about the world. You can read more about these here and here.

Training?

The next section is highly subjective as it contains personal opinions

While there are things you can do to increase the likelihood of becoming curious about a particular subjects, I don't believe curiosity is something you can unlock with a magical treatment. Don't force it. It develops with time and new experiences.

Thing I would suggest:

  • Making practical uses of a subject, making links to other subjects you are already interested in. For instance, I became highly motivated in math and physics classes after finding an application for it in 3D game development. On another note, some people tackle life's problems with metaphors of things they know well.

  • Breaking the desire for stability, security and familiarity. Here is some media on the subject: Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love, Fuck your comfort zone.

  • Learning to learn (as stereotypical as it may sound) and doing things that you love.

  • Surround yourself with curious, motivated and interesting people. It will lead to very interesting discussions and you will learn lots of stuff from each other.

share|improve this answer

well this question catched my attention at a glance... like i was somewhat seeking answer of it too.... kind of made me curious about it. well i am not an expert but curiousity somewhat comes from your thoughts likes and dislikes... so if you want to do research on a particular thing you dislike. it will raise your curiosity about it.. so anything you can think of will make you curious about if thoughts are repitative... thats what i feel

share|improve this answer

Here is a way to ignite curiosity about certain objects.

1) Allocate some time, say an hour, when you will be thinking only about this question.

2) Curiosity is already inside you, all you need is to awaken and develop it. Try to remember the moments when you felt particularly curious about something and write them down.

3) Pick one such moment, concentrate, try to imagine, how it felt, what images did the object of curiosity evoke in you? Were there any smells or sounds associated to it? Try to amplify the state of curiosity and jot down on the paper a few words, with which you could decribe this state.

4) Pick a few more memories when you felt curious, and repeat the exercise. Always try to distinguish, what was it in those objects, which made them curious.

5) Reflect on what you did. Were the memories similar in some way? Look through the list of words you made.

Now, when done with this, keep the list you made. They will serve you as a guide. If you want to develop interest in something, try to project your exerience on the new object. Is there anything about it, which is already in the list? Try to explore the object you want to get interested about. With some things it will be easier than with other ones. If you manage to find something about the object, which sparkles your curiosity this way, you succeed.

One thing to remember: For this to work for a long time you will have to occasinally discover something new and very interesting to you. Be attentive to the world around you. If something evokes your curiosity, let it go. Discoveries are the best way to keep your interest going.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.