How are you curious?
Research has been made about curiosity and its ability to improve intelligence. Curiosity increases persistence, conducts deeper engagements, better performance. It also helps with creating more meaningful goals.
Another kind of research suggests that instead of looking at curiosity as a single feature, it can be divided into five distinct dimensions. So, instead of thinking about what makes one person more curious than another and asking, “How curious are you?” we can ask “How are you curious?”.
Todd B. Kashdan, David J. Disabato, Fallon R. Goodman and Carl Naughton have created a five-dimensional model of curiosity together with their George Mason colleague Patrick McKnight.
- The first dimension is deprivation sensitivity. It can be described as the need to fill a gap in your knowledge. People experiencing this type of curiosity want to work persistently to solve problems but don’t necessarily enjoy the feeling that it gives.
- The second dimension is joyous exploration, which can be defined as a desire to explore the fascinating features of the world. This type of curiosity is quite enjoyable, and it seems that people experiencing it possess a joy of life.
- The third dimension is social curiosity, the need to learn what other people are thinking and doing. This can be fulfilled with talking, listening and observing others. Human beings are naturally social animals, and the most powerful way to find out if someone is friend or foe is to gather information. Some people might even snoop, eavesdrop, or gossip to get what they need.
- The fourth dimension is stress tolerance, the willingness to acknowledge and work with the anxiety related with novelty. People that don’t have this capability experience both information gaps and wonder, they are interested in others but probably won’t step forward and explore.
- The fifth dimension is thrill seeking, the capability to take physical, social and financial risks to achieve diverse, complex and intense experiences. People with this type of curiosity do not feel anxiety towards novelty, in fact it is something to reach for.
Tests have been made about this model in various ways. For example, the strongest link with the experience of intense positive emotions comes from joyous exploration. Stress tolerance has the strongest link with fulfilling the need to feel adequate, self-governing and that one belongs. Social curiosity has the strongest link with kind, generous and modest behaviour.
The article has a test about these five dimensions, so I felt curious about making the test and figuring out my own score. The results are evaluated either low, medium or high on each dimension. My deprivation sensitivity seems to be low, joyous exploration and thrill seeking are both medium. The scores in social curiosity and stress tolerance are both high. I feel that the scores I received describe my curiosity rather well. I think that I’m generally quite curious person.
Five ways to enforce curiosity
I read two articles about curiosity and this next one is related to the benefits of curiosity in business. Research has been made about the advantages that curiosity offers for organizations, leaders and employees. Francesca Gino’s research reveals that curiosity leads to fewer decision-making errors, helps to create more innovation and positive changes in workplaces, decreases group conflict, and generates more-open communication and better team performance.
The article “The Business Case for Curiosity” has five strategies leaders can employ to enforce curiosity in workplaces. The strategies are:
- Hire people that are curious
- Set the example by being inquisitive yourself
- Boost employee’s motivation with learning goals
- Allow employees to explore and extend their interests
- Help the employees to draw out their natural curiosity by asking question that start with “Why” “What if…?” and “How might we…?”.
In my opinion curiosity and interest in general are important attributes in business. When you don’t feel motivated in the subject you are working on, it becomes just performing. I my view, for example focusing on learning goals instead of performance goas can be one efficient way of boosting the motivation.
I found these two articles very interesting and helpful. They made me wonder about how we could help the leaders to see how significant curiosity is. In my opinion curiosity is something to be searched for instead of something to be afraid of. These articles made me see it more clearly.
Harvard Business Review September-October 2018
“The five dimensions of curiosity”
by Todd B. Kashdan, David J. Disabato, Fallon R. Goodman and Carl Naughton
Harvard Business Review September-October 2018
“The Business Case for Curiosity”
by Francesca Gino
George Mason University. About Mason. https://www2.gmu.edu/about-mason Visited on 4th of November 2018
 George Mason University is a public research university in Virginia, US