To Spark Curiosity, Don’t Tell Preschoolers Too Much Or Too Little
Preschool children are sensitive to the gap between how much they know and how much there is to learn, the finding indicates.
Researchers say this “optimal” amount of existing knowledge creates the perfect mix of uncertainty and curiosity in children and motivates them to learn more.
“There is an infinite amount of information in the real world,” says lead author Jenny Wang, an assistant professor of cognitive psychology at Rutgers University. “Yet despite having to learn so much in such a short amount of time, young children seem to learn happily and effectively. We wanted to understand what drives their curiosity.”
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, focuses on how children’s knowledge level influences what information they find interesting. The findings suggest that children are not simply attracted to information by its novelty.
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