A new research published in the journal Neuron shows that the more you vex your curiosity, the simpler the learning becomes as curiosity enhances your learning.
The findings of the University of California research at Davis reveal that curious people are more motivated to learn and that boosts the memory power.
Dr. Matthias Gruber, lead author of the study said, “Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it.”
“Our findings potentially have far-reaching implications for the public because they reveal insights into how a form of intrinsic motivation — curiosity — affects memory. These findings suggest ways to enhance learning in the classroom and other settings,” said Gruber.
Charan Ranganath- a neuroscientist at UC Davis and his colleagues interviewed a group of individuals who volunteered for the study.
The volunteers were asked about their subject of interest, then they were made to answer certain trivia questions and their brain functioning were monitored while they answered.
In the second segment, they arbitrarily increased the complexity of questions for the memory test.
The data revealed that people performed better when they were asked questions on the topic of their interest.
When asked to recollect the answers to the questions the other day, the volunteers recalled the ones in which they were more curious with curiosity level 71 % of the time.
Curiosity also exhibited extra pleasure and exhilaration in the reward system area of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by neurons in the midbrain as a reaction to unanticipated rewards.
“Dopamine is released whenever you get news that you’re going to get a reward,” said Columbia University neuroscientist Jacqueline Gottlieb, who was not a part of the study.
“It’s not actually getting the reward, but it’s the information that you’re going to get it — there’s a little burst of dopamine.”
“So 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, even if that information is not of particular interest or importance,” said principal investigator Ranganath, a professor at University of California at Davis in the US.
“Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it,” Gruber explained.
The team also revealed their plans of further studying the matter to unveil its complete potential and practical implementation.