Curiosity Changes Brain, Helps You Learn Better

Once the brain gets in gear, it absorbs information of all kinds better, says study
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2014 8:53 AM CDT
To Learn Better, Fire Up Your Curiosity

Curiosity isn't just the sign of a healthy mind—a new study suggests it actually helps the mind get stronger. Researchers in Australia found that people were better able to remember something if they were naturally curious about the subject, reports LiveScience. That wasn't too surprising. The more intriguing part of the study showed that once a person's curiosity is piqued about anything, the brain gets fired up and is better able to learn about other subjects, too, explains the Washington Post. Using MRI scans, the researchers discovered that regions of the brain associated with memory and reward light up when a person gets curious.

“There are times when people feel they can take in a lot of new information, and other times when they feel their memories are terrible,” a researcher tells the Guardian. “This work suggests that once you light that fire of curiosity, you put the brain in a state that’s more conducive to learning." The brain, he adds, "becomes more like a sponge that’s ready to soak up whatever is happening.” Researchers followed up with their subjects a full day after their tests and found that the effects still held. Teachers ought to put the findings to use in the classroom, a scientist not involved with the study tells Australia's ABC. (Brain researchers also think they can rewire bad memories to become good ones instead.)

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