“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein



COMMENT: Einstein was on to something when he said that curiosity has its own reason for existing. Psychologists have studied the behavior of animals exploring novel environments and have found that the hedonic response to stimuli (whether something is perceived as pleasant versus unpleasant) follows a pattern known as Wundt’s curve, pictured above. There is a curiosity “sweet spot” where things are just novel enough to evoke the maximum curiosity. Anything less evokes boredom and anything more evokes anxiety. This makes sense because too much curiosity would have been deadly for our early ancestors. As an example, think about how a toddler loves to explore new things but only when mommy is nearby. The video shows this in action with a pair of lion cubs; a photographer drove a remote-controlled car up to a family of lions and only when it got within sight of the mother were the cubs bold enough to go investigate.

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