Scanning Pandora’s brain

By Nic LazSunday, Sep 01, 2019


“Curiosity is the complex feeling and cognition accompanying the desire to learn what is unknown. Curiosity can be both helpful and dangerous. It plays a critical role in motivating learning and discovery, especially by creative professionals, increasing the world’s store of knowledge.”


That is how this remarkable psychological research paper begins – a brilliantly penned definition of our Curious fascinations. Continuing their ominous warning with the tale of Pandora’s Box and stating that “despite the importance of human curiosity, its psychological and neural underpinnings remain poorly understood.”


To attempt to know more they tried to peep a look inside other’s Pandora’s Boxes – using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging they scanned the brains of students whilst 40 trivia questions and getting them to rate their Curiosity. Trivia questions have been used for some time to attempt to elicit curiosity, although they are thought to only access what is called ‘specific epistemic curiosity’ which is distinct from the ‘diversive perceptual curiosity’ we tend to experience in our lives.


Nonetheless the brain scans suggest that Curiosity stems from the brain’s anticipation of reward from acquiring new information – as a result this mechanism seems to enhance the learning of new information. So the more Curious one is, the easier it is to learn something they didn’t know before. Seeking to know current unknowns is truly a noble quest, that is why TENCLUB supports its members in the Journey of Self through self-initiated Curious investigations of their unknowns.


Do you know what an fMRI machine sounds like?



Ever wondered if it could become music?



As the researchers put it seems that just a “small amount of knowledge can pique curiosity and prime the hunger for knowledge, much as an olfactory or visual stimulus can prime a hunger for food; this observation might suggest ways for educators to ignite the wick in
the candle of learning.”


Let TENCLUB light that wick and nurture the flame of Curiosity within you.