The five-dimensional curiosity construct, recently advanced by Kashdan and his colleagues (2018a), was examined using open-ended and Likert type questionnaires to further understand the nomological network and correlates of the five curiosity dimensions. The nature of each dimension (Joyous Exploration, Deprivation Sensitivity, Stress Tolerance, Social curiosity, and Thrill-Seeking) and of profiles based on those dimensions were examined as well as their relationships with value-driven actions (Personal Well-being, Moral values, Religious values, Social Ideology, and Environment.) Results of qualitative and quantitative analyses shed light on the role of positive uncertainty (stress tolerance) and of thrill-seeking in shaping epistemic and social curiosity; on authentic descriptions of reactions to curiosity-related objects or situations; on types of questions of interest that are more likely to be posed by curious people, and on values that drive their actions. The findings were discussed from an educative perspective.
Curiosity, the urge to search for new knowledge and experience, has been long acknowledged as a desirable human characteristic. William James (1890) and later Abraham Maslow (1943) considered it a fundamental psychological motive. Curiosity is associated with openness to experience and to people’s opinions and ideas; cognitive flexibility; need for cognition; uncertainty orientation; stress tolerance; risk taking, and self-regulation (Kashdan, Rose, & Fincham, 2004; Lauriola et al. (2015); Mussel, 2010; Spielberger & Starr, 1994). Numerous studies point to the role of curiosity in facilitating cognitive development (Sternberg, 1994), school and academic learning (von Stumm, Hell & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2011), job performance (Reio & Wiswell, 2000), interpersonal closeness (Kashdan & Roberts, 2004), personal growth (Kashdan et al., 2004), and well-being (Kashdan, Disabato, Goodman, McKnight, & Naughton, 2018). Curiosity has a trait like features yet may be malleable (Kashdan et al., 2004), hence the potential of education to play a major role in its promotion. Daniel Berlyne proposed two dimensions to distinguish between manifestations of curiosity: Forms of curiosity – Perceptual vs. Epistemic – and inquisitive tendencies – Diverse vs. Specific exploration (Berlyne, 1957). He further asserted that curiosity is induced by the stimulus properties of novelty, complexity, uncertainty, and conflict (Berlyne, 1960, 1967). More recently, Silvia (2005, 2008), pointed out two necessary conditions for experiencing curiosity, firstly, the person must believe there is sufficient potential for novelty in the situation or object in question; secondly, the person must feel capable of coping with or handling the novelty.