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Personality and Individual Differences
Volume 49, Issue 5,
, Pages 506-510
Epistemic curiosity, the “desire for knowledge that motivates individuals to learn new ideas, eliminate information-gaps, and solve intellectual problems” (Litman, 2008), has been identified as a crucial variable in different areas and stages of life. However, several constructs have been proposed that might be highly similar regarding construct domain, but are based on different theoretical positions and were investigated under different labels. Three of these constructs, namely need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas, were investigated regarding discriminant validity. Based on two studies with 395 and 191 participants, no evidence of discriminant validity could be found. Especially, correlations within several measures of curiosity, interpreted as convergent validity, had mean correlations of .60 and .59 for the two studies, respectively. Correlations between curiosity measures and the related constructs need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas, interpreted as discriminant validity, were virtually identical (.59 and .57, respectively). Furthermore, exploratory factor analysis indicated that one factor explained the variance of the investigated constructs reasonably well. It is concluded that integrating the body of research that has been built around these constructs might stimulate future research on epistemic curiosity.
Epistemic curiosity has been identified as a crucial variable in different areas and stages of life. Examples include the role of curiosity in facilitating cognitive development (Sternberg, 1994, Tamdogon, 2006), school and academic learning (Day, 1982), development of interpersonal closeness (Kashdan & Roberts, 2004), personal growth (Kashdan, Rose, & Fincham, 2004), and job performance (Mussel, 2010). Correspondingly, several attempts have been made in order to describe and explain the content and latent structure of the construct, its nomological net as well as underlying mechanisms (e.g. Litman, 2005). However, beyond the research that centered on curiosity, several constructs have been proposed that might be highly similar regarding construct domain, but have been investigated under different labels. Based on a review of the literature, three constructs were identified which exhibit highly similar definitions compared to definitions of curiosity, but were developed in different areas and on different theoretical positions: need for cognition (Cacioppo & Petty, 1982), typical intellectual engagement (Goff & Ackerman, 1992), and openness for ideas (Costa & McCrae, 1992). The purpose of the present study is to investigate whether these constructs exhibit sufficient discriminant validity in order to justify their coexistence under different labels. Therefore, based on two studies, discriminant validity was investigated in regard to four different measures of epistemic curiosity. Recent concepts of curiosity and their 63 measurement are briefly reviewed; subsequently, the aforementioned constructs are linked conceptually and empirically to curiosity.
Epistemic curiosity (EC) can be defined as “desire for knowledge that motivates individuals to learn new ideas, eliminate information-gaps, and solve intellectual problems” (Litman, 2008; see Berlyne, 1960, Loewenstein, 1994). Based on Berlyne’s seminal work, two dimensions of epistemic curiosity can be distinguished which were labeled specific and diverse. Specific curiosity refers to the desire for certain pieces of information, and is initiated by so called collative variables, such as novelty, complexity, or ambiguity. Diverse curiosity was first described as being motivated by feelings of boredom or a desire for stimulus variation. In contrast to Berlyne’s focus on motivational states, Day (1969) rather considered diverse curiosity as individual difference in dispositional tendencies to engage in exploration. Consequently, diverse curiosity was regarded as desire for new, exciting or amusing stimuli (Day, 1971). Litman and Spielberger (2003) developed a measure of specific and diverse epistemic curiosity, finding the two dimensions highly correlated (.56). A second recently developed measure of epistemic curiosity is the Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (Kashdan et al., 2004), including two subscales that assess interest in exploration of new things and levels of absorption when engaged in curiosity (similar to Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) concept of flow). Kashdan et al. found that both subscales of the Curiosity and Exploration Inventory correlated positively with other measures of trait curiosity (M r=.57).
In addition to diverse and specific curiosity, Litman and Jimerson (2004) recently introduced the dimension of curiosity as a feeling of deprivation. This dimension refers to rather unpleasant and aversive feelings of uncertainty which accompany curiosity, such as being annoyed at not knowing the answer to a question. As such, the affective tone differs from the rather positive connotations of specific and diverse curiosity, such as joy, interest, stimulation, or heightened arousal. Despite these conceptual differences, Litman and Silvia (2006) found measures of curiosity as a feeling of deprivation and of specific and diverse curiosity to be highly correlated (.62) and having salient loadings on the same factor when factor analyzed. Therefore, while recent refinements in conceptualization have improved theoretical understanding of the construct curiosity (e.g. Litman, 2005), these concepts still share large portions of variance, presumably due to a higher order factor they have in common. In sum, epistemic curiosity can be seen as a well defined construct, with a structure of highly correlated dimensions, for which validated measures have been developed.
Independently of these approaches and based on different theoretical background, a number of constructs have been proposed that share crucial aspects with epistemic curiosity regarding their content and definition. Three of these are need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas. Need for cognition was first introduced by Cacioppo and Petty (1982) and was defined as “an individual’s tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activity” (Cacioppo, Petty, Feinstein, & Jarvis, 1996, p. 197). Contrarily, people scoring low on need for cognition are viewed as cognitive misers. The construct was conceived as an intrinsic motivational tendency that develops in the course of involvements with cognitive endeavors. Concerning curiosity, need for cognition shares much of what Litman and Jimerson (2004) called curiosity as a feeling of interest, even though the focus is rather on thinking, problem solving or reasoning, compared to learning and obtaining new knowledge. A 34-item measure of need for cognition (Cacioppo & Petty, 1982) as well as an 18-item short form (Cacioppo, Petty, & Kao, 1984) was developed, that has been applied in hundreds of studies, mainly in social, personality, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Kashdan et al. found need for cognition to be positively correlated with epistemic curiosity, assessed with the Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (M r=.48). Similarly, Olson, Camp, and Fuller (1984) report positive correlations with trait curiosity of .68 as assessed via the Academic Curiosity Scale (Vidler & Rawan, 1974), of .55 with the Melbourne Trait Curiosity Scale (Naylor, 1981), and .67 with the Trait State Personality Inventory (Spielberger, 1979).
The construct typical intellectual engagement was proposed by Goff and Ackerman (1992). Defined as “personality construct that represents an individual’s aversion or attraction to tasks that are intellectually taxing” (Ackerman, Kanfer, & Goff, 1995, p. 276), it shares much of the problem solving and thinking activities with curiosity and need for cognition. However, its theoretical background is rather in research on intelligence. As such, typical intellectual engagement was distinguished from cognitive abilities in that it assesses typical, compared to maximum performance. Even though one of the sub-dimensions of typical intellectual engagement, namely reading (e.g. “I read a great deal” and “When I was a child I read every book in the house”, Ackerman & Goff, 1994, p. 151) taps into a slightly different direction, as it concerns very specific and observable behaviors (namely reading), compared to preferences and appraisals regarding thinking and learning, the overall score of the 59-item typical intellectual engagement scale (Goff & Ackerman, 1992) was found to be highly correlated with need for cognition (.78, Woo, Harms, & Kuncel, 2007).
Finally, the construct openness to experience, one factor in the five factor model of personality, which was developed on grounds of the lexical approach, has much in common with curiosity. Peterson and Seligman (2004) recently even equated curiosity with openness to experience. However, given the large heterogeneity of openness to experience (Digman, 1990), curiosity is rather reflected in aspects that have been described as inquiring intellect (Fiske, 1949), intelligence (Borgatta, 1964, Cattell, 1957), or intellectance (Hogan, 1986). Based on Costa and McCrae, 1985, Costa and McCrae, 1992, curiosity seems to be most closely associated with the facet openness to ideas, including aspects of being open minded, engaging in unconventional thoughts, and solving problems and thinking as an end in itself. Based on the eight item subscale of the NEO PI-R (Costa & McCrae, 1992), openness for ideas correlates positively with need for cognition (.78, Berzonsky & Sullivan, 1992). Even though not reporting results on a facet level, Kashdan et al. (2004) found positive correlations of openness to experience with epistemic curiosity (M r=.50). Similarly, Goff and Ackerman (1992) found a correlation of .65 between openness to experiences and typical intellectual engagement; based on construct validity evidence, Rocklin (1994) proposed that these two are essentially identical.
In light of these conceptual and empirical similarities, the purpose of the present study is to investigate whether the three constructs need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas possess discriminant validity to established constructs of curiosity, namely diverse and specific epistemic curiosity and curiosity as a feeling of deficit. Such evidence seems necessary in order to justify the use of different labels and, correspondingly, separate research accumulation and theory development. The present research extends previous correlational studies by using factor-analysis and computing convergent and discriminant validities. Therefore, in two studies, several different measures of curiosity were included together with the constructs discussed above. Regarding the factor-analytic approach, a prerequisite of discriminant validity would be that the factor structure across all variables would be characterized by more than one factor. Regarding convergent and discriminant validities, correlations between different measures of curiosity can be interpreted as convergent validity; in order to establish discriminant validity, correlations between measures of curiosity on one hand and measures of different constructs, namely need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas, on the other should be significantly lower, compared to convergent validities.
Data were collected on a total of 395 participants, who participated voluntarily in the present research. Participants were recruited by one of 40 peers as part of university course work in Germany. On average, participants were 30years old (SD=11.1, range:18–70), 51% were female. Regarding their education, the majority had a university-entrance diploma (82%), while some had secondary school (16%) as highest education. Only 5% had no prior job experience, 35% up to 2 years, 24% up to 5, and 31%
Bivariate correlation between curiosity, need for cognition, and openness for ideas can be found in Table 1. Coefficients above the diagonal are adjusted for attenuation. As can be seen, all measures are positively correlated (M r=.60; adjusted r=.80). If correlations within the four curiosity scales are treated as convergent validities, and correlations between these four scales on one hand and the two scales need for cognition and openness for ideas on the other as discriminant validities,
Data were collected on a total of 191 participants, who participated voluntarily in the present research. Similar to Study 1, participants were recruited by one of 15 peers as part of university course work in Germany. On average, participants were 35years old (SD=11.7, range:20–67), 51% were female. Regarding their education, the majority had a university-entrance diploma (79%), 14% had secondary school as highest education. Participants had on average 10years of job experience (SD=8.8), only
All correlation coefficients can be found in Table 1 (coefficients behind the slash are from Study 2). On average, the five scales assessing curiosity, need for cognition, and typical intellectual engagement correlated .58. Based on coefficients adjusted for attenuation, which can again be found above the diagonal, average correlations are .72. Analogous to Study 1, correlation coefficients were divided into convergent (i.e. within the three curiosity scales; .59) and discriminant (i.e. between
The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether the three constructs need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas possess discriminant validity regarding several constructs from the curiosity domain. Based on convergent and discriminant validities, exploratory factor analysis, and construct validity, evidence of discriminant validity could not be established. Adjusted for attenuation, average correlations between several curiosity measures and measures
I wish to express my thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of this paper.
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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
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Journal of Personality Assessment
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- The interplay between domain-specific knowledge and selected investment traits across the life span
Domain-specific knowledge (Gkn) has been theoretically discussed and empirically proven to be a useful broad indicator of crystallized intelligence (Gc) beyond vocabulary. Based on this, the present study aimed to explore the complex interplay between selected investment traits such as personality and interests, operationalised on different hierarchical levels, and Gkn across the life span based on process models integrated into the recent Cattell-Horn-Carroll model. Divided into an online study and a laboratory study, various tests measuring constructs in the nomological net of Gkn including cognitive abilities, personality, and interests were presented along with a Gkn test to a total of N=477 participants. Aspects of openness and interests showed varying latent correlations with Gkn depending on the knowledge domain. In addition, various linear and complex non-linear relations between different investment traits and specific knowledge domains became evident in response surface analyses. Results also suggest curvilinear age-associated changes of Gkn regarding the Humanities and Civics knowledge domains. In contrast, Science knowledge appeared to be unrelated to age. Overall, age-associated findings need to be interpreted with caution due to the cross-sectional nature of this study. Implications of the findings for a better understanding of the development of Gkn are discussed.
- Curiosity as feelings of interest versus deprivation: Relations between curiosity traits and affective states when anticipating information
2022, Journal of Research in Personality
The interest/deprivation model of trait curiosity contrasts curiosity as a feeling of interest versus a feeling of deprivation. In two studies, we explored (N=324), then confirmed (N=397) relations that curiosity-as-interest and curiosity-as-deprivation had with anticipatory affect and information seeking behaviour during a trivia task. We found that (1) curiosity-as-interest predicted feeling curious/interested, whereas curiosity-as-deprivation predicted feeling both curious/interested and frustrated/bothered, when anticipating trivia answers; (2) curiosity-as-interest was the more robust trait predictor of information seeking (i.e., paying a cost to view trivia answers), and (3) anticipatory affect mediated the relations that both curiosity traits had with information seeking. These findings suggest that both traits in the I/D model of curiosity predict their definitional epistemic experiences.
- Need for Cognition and its relation to academic achievement in different learning environments
2022, Learning and Individual Differences(Video) 7 Cara Membuka Potensi Kejeniusanmu
The present study investigates how Need for Cognition (NFC), an individual's tendency to engage in and enjoy thinking, relates to academic achievement in 9th grade students (N=3.355) attending different school tracks to understand whether school track moderates this relation when controlling for student background variables. Using structural regression analyses, our findings revealed small and significant positive relations between NFC and academic achievement in German, French and Math. Relations were strongest in the highest and weakest in the lowest track. No significant track difference between the highest and the intermediary track could be identified; significant differences of small effect size between the intermediary and the lowest track were found in favor of the intermediary track in the relation between NFC and academic achievement in German and Math. These findings underpin the importance of NFC in academic settings, while highlighting that the relation between NFC and achievement varies with the characteristics of different learning environments.
- Violations of expectation trigger infants to search for explanations
Infants look longer and explore more following violations-of-expectation, but the reasons for these surprise-induced behaviors are unclear. One possibility is that expectancy violations heighten arousal generally, thereby increasing infants’ post-surprise activity. Another possibility is that infants’ exploration reflects the search for an explanation for the surprising event. We tested these alternatives in three experiments. First in Experiment 1 we confirmed that seeing an object violate expectations (by passing through a solid wall) increased infants’ exploration of the surprising object, relative to when no expectancy violation was seen. Then in Experiment 2 we measured infants’ exploration after they had seen the same violation event, but then an explanation for the event was provided (the wall was revealed to have a large hole in it). We found that providing this explanation abolished infants’ surprise-induced exploration. In Experiment 3 we replicated this effect. Furthermore, we found that the longer infants looked at the explanation, the greater their reversal in exploratory preference (i.e., the more they ignored the surprising object). These findings demonstrate that preverbal infants both seek and recognize explanations for surprising events.
- Need for cognition and rumination: Alternate explanations for sex differences in disaster information seeking
2021, Progress in Disaster Science
While a long history of research in crisis communication has suggested sex differences in information seeking, little has addressed the underlying reasons why this may be the case. The current study examines information seeking behaviors in the time leading up to Hurricane Dorian, and suggests that these differences may be a function of ruminative processing tendencies. Sex differences in information seeking are moderated such that they attenuate at higher levels of rumination. Implications for our understanding of audience responses and emergency management are discussed, along with differences in sex role normalization that may play a factor in the observed data.
- The personality of anthropomorphism: How the need for cognition and the need for closure define attitudes and anthropomorphic attributions toward robots
2021, Computers in Human Behavior
Anthropomorphism describes the tendency to attribute human characteristics to non-human agents such as robots. These attributions could depend on some dispositional factors such as the individuals' will to engage in reflective processes (need for cognition), to predict their environment (need for closure). Indeed, these traits may moderate how we explain artificial agents’ behavior that is our motivation to use cognitively more effortful reasoning about artificial agents against easily accessible anthropomorphic explanations. In the present study, we measured participants (n=1141) need for cognition and closure in order to predict attitudes toward robots and anthropomorphic attributions on various robots which differed in terms of human-like characteristics. We found that both dimensions of personality influenced attitudes and anthropomorphism. In addition, these effects were emphasized by the human-like characteristics of the robots. In addition, we used a novel approach of clustering and machine-learning validation to delineate personality profiles based on the need for cognition and need for closure as most predictive variables to provide a first predictive categorization of tendency to anthropomorphize and attitudes toward robots. Our results argue for the importance of considering the interaction between the dispositional traits on the one hand and the design of robots on the other for anthropomorphism.
Research article“What’s coming next?” Epistemic curiosity and lurking behavior in online communities
Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 29, Issue 1, 2013, pp. 293-303
Prior research has repeatedly found that lurkers, the passive members of online communities, dominate such communities in terms of membership. Yet lurking in online communities reflects a phenomenon largely neglected by contemporary information systems theory and research. This study starts by reviewing existing literature on lurking behavior in online communities and identifies an unexplored opportunity related to the nature and origins of lurkers’ behavior, the individual propensity to de-lurk, and the dynamic interplay between lurking and de-lurking behavior. A theoretical process-based framework linking epistemic curiosity to lurking and de-lurking behavior in online communities is presented. This framework links prior academic work on epistemic curiosity as personality trait and emotional–motivational state to lurkers’ contribution behavior in online communities. The article concludes by proposing that the psychology of curiosity in general holds great promise for research on online communities in information systems.
Research articleThe development of a gender-free curiosity inventory
Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 101, 2016, pp. 177-184(Video) "The Trouble with Construct Validity" by Maria Serban
Curiosity has usually been seen as a multidimensional concept. The aim of the present study was to verify the factor structure of the 40-item trait scale developed by Olson (1986), who conceptualized exploration aroused by curiosity in terms of four distinct dimensions: Exploration of the Complex or Ambiguous, Manipulatory Exploration, Conceptual Exploration, and Perceptual Exploration. However, the reported high homogeneity of the total trait scale suggested item redundancy and overlapping subscales. There were also some doubts that at least the Manipulatory Exploration factor may be gender-related. Using hand rotation it was possible to combine both exploratory and more confirmatory factor analysis in the same analysis. The purpose of the exploratory factor analysis was to find out the gender-related items of the scale. The results showed that the scale contained only 17 reliable and unambiguous items which formed a highly correlating gender-free four-factor structure. An interpretationally meaningful second-order structure explained the intercorrelations of the first-order factors very well. The models were cross-validated using confirmatory factor analysis.
Research articleCuriosity made the cat more creative: Specific curiosity as a driver of creativity
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 150, 2019, pp. 1-13
The present research examines the causal relationship between specific curiosity and creativity. To explicate this relationship, we introduce the concept of idea linking, a cognitive process that entails using aspects of early ideas as input for subsequent ideas in a sequential manner, such that one idea is a stepping stone to the next. Study 1 demonstrated the causal effect of specific curiosity on creativity. Study 2, a field study of artisans selling handmade goods online, found that experiencing specific curiosity predicts greater next-day creativity. Study 3 demonstrated idea linking as a mechanism for the effect of specific curiosity on creativity. Study 4 further established the impact of idea linking on creativity, finding that it boosted creativity beyond the well-established intervention of brainstorming. We discuss specific curiosity as a state that fuels creativity through idea linking and idea linking as a novel technique for creative idea generation.
Research articleA further look at the five-dimensional curiosity construct
Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 149, 2019, pp. 57-65
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.
Research articleMobile gamer's epistemic curiosity affecting continuous play intention. Focused on players' switching costs and epistemic curiosity
Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 77, 2017, pp. 32-46
Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, most people can access mobile game easily. But they play it very differently. This research focus on the gamer's attributes, not the game attributes as the cause of the behavioral difference. Authors suggested a research model in which perceptual game switching costs precede the continuous play intention, and personal attributes affect also the switching costs and the intention at the same time. To test the model and the research hypotheses, authors used the structural equation modeling method and multiple linear regression analysis. As results, the personal I-typed, and D-typed epistemic curiosity could account for gamers' perceptual switching costs and the play intent well. The continuity cost and the sunk cost positively affected the retention intent, but there was no significant effect from learning cost. Focusing the gamer into as the male gamer, the learning cost was significant but negatively to the intent. Gamer group in high I-typed and low D-typed curiosity showed the highest retention intent, and the lowest retention intent took place in the group of low I-typed and high D-typed. The combinations of epistemic curiosity gave new insights on the playing intent for mobile game. The personal epistemic curiosity is an effective instrument for building a consumer clustering framework for mobile gamer.
Research articleIntellectual curiosity may not incrementally predict academic success
Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 64, 2014, pp. 7-11
Participants were 160 (50 males) young adults aged 17–32years, predominantly first-year university undergraduates who completed online questionnaires measuring fluid ability (Gf: Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices-Short Form [APM-SF]), Conscientiousness, and four tests of intellectual curiosity (Openness to Ideas [OI], Need for Cognition [NFC], Typical Intellectual Engagement [TIE], Epistemic Curiosity [EC]). All study variables correlated substantially with final school grades (Tertiary Entrance Rank [TER] or Australian Tertiary Admission Rank [ATAR]), confirming that educational outcome may reflect fluid ability, Conscientiousness and intellectual curiosity. Exploratory factor analysis found a strong general intellectual curiosity factor but, after controlling for APM-SF and Conscientiousness, this did not improve prediction of TER/ATAR. TIE explained additional 1.8% of variance in TER/ATAR (p<.05) but neither NFC, EC, nor OI explained additional variance. Relative importance regression showed that Conscientiousness and TIE contributed equally to explaining TER/ATAR variance. The incremental validity of TIE may reflect unique content.
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