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Why Are Humans So Curious?

Curiosity is so ingrained, it helps us learn as babies and survive as adults. As for the definition, there isn’t one set in stone. Researchers across many disciplines are interested in curiosity, so it’s no surprise there isn’t a widely accepted definition of the term. William James, one of the first modern psychologists, called it “the impulse towards better cognition.” Ivan Pavlov wrote that dogs (of course it was dogs) are curious about novel stimuli through the “what-is-it?” reflex that causes them to focus spontaneously on something new that comes into their environment. While pinning down a definition has proven tricky, “the general consensus is it’s some means of information gathering,” Katherine Twomey, a lecturer in language and communicative development at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, told Live Science. Psychologists also agree that curiosity isn’t about satisfying an immediate need, like hunger or thirst; rather, it’s intrinsically motivated.

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