What is curiosity? Curiosity is characterized by the joy of discovering new things, by the motivation to seek answers to something that is not yet known.
Curiosity can be defined as a motivational state, a personal approach associated with exploration. It can be linked to multiple dimensions, referring to the person or to a specific situation. In the first case we speak of character traits, something profound, inherent in an individual. A person can be curious by nature, being open to experiences, eager for novelty, inclined to welcome everything that is unexpected. Curiosity, however, can also be situational, relative to a persons most eccentric interests, and can be influenced by the individual and social context in which he finds himself.
There are many studies that have shown how curiosity, combined with a correct approach to learning (self-regulation of behavior or effortful control), can be fundamental in a child to learn new knowledge, especially in pre-school age. But can curiosity alone guarantee a greater propensity to learn? This is the question that some scholars from the University of Michigan tried to answer. If curiosity actually pushes a child to try to know something he still doesn’t know, then pushing him to be more and more curious and encouraging certain attitudes of him it could be favored in its learning path, school and otherwise. Here, therefore, the study sought to demonstrate how curiosity can become a real indicator of learning outcomes. Specifically, the results in mathematics and reading skills were examined. Not only that: scholars have also tried to analyze the phenomenon by considering some variables, such as a child’s effortful control levels (his attitude towards learning), his gender, and his socio-economic status. This is to understand how curiosity can also be stimulated in specific situations and contexts, not only to underline its importance as a personality trait.
There are actual correlations between curiosity and excellent school results. This was independent of the children’s effortful control levels: those who were more curious learned new knowledge more easily and obtained better results. In particular, it has been noted that this occurs mainly in children with a low socio-economic status.