Quick Thoughts on Curiosity

According to Thomas Friedman, curiosity and passion are key prerequisites for education in a “flat world,” where information is readily available and where global markets reward those who have learned how to learn and are self-motivated to learn. In today’s world, he argues, it is more important to be passionate and curious than to be smart in the traditional sense. Friedman has reduced this principle to a formula: CQ + PQ > IQ–meaning, Curiosity Quotient plus Passion Quotient is greater than Intelligent Quotient.

A new study from the University of California, Davis, suggests that when curiosity is piqued, learning is exponentially higher. The study, which caught the attention of the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and Scientific American, to name a few, reveals that “Curiosity recruits the reward system, and interactions between the reward system and the hippocampus seem to put the brain in a state in which you are more likely to learn and retain information.”

I paired Friedman’s work with this new research because, to me, it reveals something obvious:

If curiosity and passion are prerequisites for the success in the future AND they also heighten learning, shouldn’t curiosity and passion be staples of every learning environment, so we can continue to nurture and grow those curiosities rather than squeeze them out?


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