Being Curious Is a State of the Mind
"Incidental material is learned during states of high curiosity." This study not only shows this through indirect tests but also provides physiological basis on how curiosity may be influencing learning. Functional magnetic resonance imaging has shown that during states of curiosity, there is increased activity in the nucleus accumbens and the midbrain specifically the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area complex [SN/VTA]). These are regions in the brain associated with dopamine pathways (reward system):
|Dopamine Pathways. In the brain, dopamine plays an important role in the regulation of reward and movement. As part of the reward pathway, dopamine is manufactured in nerve cell bodies located within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and is released in the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex. Its motor functions are linked to a separate pathway, with cell bodies in the substantia nigra that manufacture and release dopamine into the striatum.|
To help my son study, I actually need just one instance that can heighten my son's curiosity. Thus, after doing a problem that is related to something that he has inclination, I can proceed with less interesting material like this:
Round the following to the nearest hundred:
It does seem to work. Perhaps, this is one reason why constructing the beginning of a lecture is important. Even one priest in the parish I attend usually starts his homily with something that may arouse curiosity, a joke or a memorable experience. Curiosity is a state of mind during which the brain is almost acting like a sponge....