Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Free

The Interesting Way Curiosity Can Improve Your Health

Curiosity is a powerful predictor of behavior and new research shows it may be strong enough to help you choose healthier options in life.

57
Author Image
Contributing Writer
SHARE:

I have a riddle for you. Ready?

A bus driver was heading down a street in a small town. He went right past a stop sign without stopping and turned left where there was a “no left turn” sign, ignoring a nearby cop car. Still, he didn’t break any traffic laws. Why not?

Sit tight and keep reading. The answer appears later in this article.

Are you squirming a little? Curiosity piqued? If you’re still reading to find out the answer to the riddle, you may exemplify a form of motivation identified in many psychology research findings, more recently a study led by Evan Polman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

William Arthur Ward eloquently defined curiosity as “the wick in the candle of learning.” In research, curiosity is often defined as the appetitive drive to learn the unknown, or the desire for closure.

Curiosity has long been known to be a powerful predictor of behavior. Advertising moguls have capitalized on this psychological phenomenon for decades to encourage consumerism (e.g., “…with a special mystery prize in every box!”). More recently, “clickbait” internet headlines appear on your screen that promise shocking deals or rumor reveal by first clicking on an ad.

What’s novel about Polman’s particular study’s results is not simply that curiosity can lead to a behavior such a buying or clicking, but that curiosity might be strong enough to mediate someone’s choice of a more healthy behavior over a more tempting, unhealthy behavior.

In this four-study series, researchers sought to understand the antecedents to an individual’s choices in two lab experiments and two field experiments. In particular, they focused on curiosity as a way to improve decision-making between “want” choices that offer gratification in the immediate moment and “should” choices, related to longer-term satisfaction and benefit.


Related: 5 Phobias You May Not Realize You Experience


In one of the field experiments, scientists approached 200 participants in a college library and offered them a choice between two kinds of fortune cookie desserts: one dipped in chocolate and toppings (less healthy, “want” option), and one plain (more healthy, “should” option). 100 of these participants were told that the plain, fortune cookie contained a fortune specifically about them and that the chocolate dipped cookie had no specialized message. The other half of participants served as the control group and received no information when offered the choice between the two. Researchers predicted that participants whose interest was piqued with a personalized fortune would choose the plain cookie, and they were right.

Most intriguing to the researchers was the strength of the curiosity effect in choosing the healthier fortune cookie. 80% of participants in the control group chose the chocolate-dipped cookie, while 20% chose the plain option. In the experimental group whose participants anticipated a personalized fortune in the plain cookie, the results were practically flipped. 71% of participants chose the plain cookie to receive their personalized message, while 29% chose the chocolate dipped fortune cookie.

In a second study, participants in a control group watched a magic trick and were then offered the choice between watching an intellectual “high-brow” movie clip versus an entertaining “low-brow” movie clip. 70% of control participants chose the low-brow entertaining clip, with the remaining 30% choosing the high-brow clip. In the experimental group, participants watched the same magic trick to start but their interest was piqued: they could see the magic trick revealed, but only if they chose the high-brow movie clip. The results matched the hypothesis, with a stronger effect than anticipated. Nearly 55% of experimental group participants, a far higher number than the control group, chose the high-brow clip.

Subsequent field experiments in the study series all supported curiosity as a possible motivator for healthier choices. By offering trivia teaser statements at the bottom of a stairwell and promising trivia answers along the stairwell, the frequency of stair-use (as opposed to elevator use) in a university building increased by 9.8% in just two weeks. In a different experiment, consumers purchased more fresh, healthy produce when curiosity was piqued with the promise of a riddle or joke punchline.

Perhaps choosing to read this article informed your awareness of daily choices, affecting your health for the better. And look, all it took to make the healthy choice of reading was piquing your curiosity with a riddle about a bus driver going through a stop sign. Ready for the answer? The bus driver was walking.

Curiosity is not the only means for stimulating healthy choices over less healthy temptations. Research on the practice of mindful attention, a form of selective attention, has also shown initial promise for inviting in wholesome life decisions and ignoring those that are less healthful as well.

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

An Expert Guide to Crow Pose

Download Sonima’s comprehensive guide to this exciting “reach” posture and enjoy the benefits of expert instruction at home!

Get the Guide

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • Today is the second Thursday of November #gratitudemonth2019 - “Home is where the heart is.” 🙏🏽 On this Thankful Thursday we are grateful for what makes us feel at Home. 
Those spaces and places where we can relax and unwind. The faces of those who make us laugh and love. All the people that we share our joy and sorrow with, because home isn’t just a place, it’s the people who fill your heart. 💗

To really be present and enjoy your home, it’s  important to learn how to truly leave work at the office and create a more balanced, and conscious life with the ones you hold dear. ✨

This week we share an article to help you set boundaries and more clearly define your different roles, so that you can get the most out of the time you have in the home you love. .

Click on the link in our bio! 
We look forward to seeing your thoughts on Home for #thankfulthursdaysonima in our November #gratitudechallenge co-hosted by @malasbyemma 📿
.
.
.
.

#malasbyemma #gratitudegiveaway 
#nationalgratitudemonth #gratitudechallenge #gratefulheart #gratitudeattitude #gratitudedaily #thankfulgratefulblessed #thankfulheart #gratitudepractice #attitudeofgratitude 
#gratefulforlife #gratitudemonth 
#attitudequotes #attitudeofgratitude #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #homeiswheretheheartis #homesweethome #loveyourhome
  • It’s World Kindness Day! Feel good. Practice random acts of kindness today. 💞

Recently, a Harvard University study demonstrated that even witnessing acts of kindness can produce a positive physiological response in the observer. . . ✨Meaning, when you act with compassion you improve the health of others as well as yourself! 
Do one of these 3 things today:
.
🔸 Compliment a stranger .
🔸 Give abundantly: Pay It Forward .
🔸 Call on your inner child and spend some quality time with your children

Let us know how it goes in the comments below! . . . ✨Read the article linked in our bio for more ideas on other acts of kindness and for more details on the Harvard University study. .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#worldkindnessday #worldkindnessday2019 #randomactsofkindness #kindnessmatters #bekind #compassionateliving #compassionovercruelty #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #introspection #meditatedaily #meditationinspiration #actsofkindness #lovewins
  • Today, Sonima is five years old! 🎂🎉 We are so happy to celebrate this day with all of you, and look forward to sharing another fantastic year of yoga, meditation, fitness, and food with all our friends and readers! 💜
.
.
.
.
.
.

#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife #fitnesstransformation #workouttips 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #fitnessgoals #healthgoals #wednesdaywisdom #mindfulness #happybirthdaytome
  • Today, take a few minutes to sit in silence and remember those who gave up so much to ensure that we can enjoy many of the freedoms we have. 
We are grateful everyday for our veterans. 
Thank you for your service. 🙏🏽🇺🇸 .
.
.
.
.
.
#veteransday #remembranceday #veterans #remembrance  #mondaymeditation #mondayquotes #motivationmonday #lifeisbeautiful #choosehappiness #attitudequotes #attitudeofgratitude #yogalifestyle 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #gratefulheart #gratitudejournal #gratitudeattitude #gratitudedaily #thankfulgratefulblessed #thankfulheart #gratitudepractice 
#gratefulforlife #gratitudemonth
  • There is a lot of talk these days about the Vagus Nerve and how it impacts our stress response. Mindfulness practices that tap into this nerve can improve one’s state of mind and overall sense of comfort, while reducing stress and inflammation. ✨

In this article (linked in our bio) Deepak Chopra @deepakchopra and Eddie Stern  @eddiestern explain a simple practice that will nurture your vagus nerve, based on the idea of resonance breathing. ✨

Resonance breathing is when your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems come into harmonic balance. It has been found to regulate depression, ameliorate symptoms of pain, and boost mood and resilience. ✨

Read more and watch the video. Simply click on our bio link! 🧬
.
.
.
.
#nationalstressawarenessday #nationalstressawarenessmonth 
#vagusnerve #deepakchopra #eddiestern #mindfulnessmeditation #breathingexercises #breathingtechniques #vagusnervestimulation #mindfulnesspractice #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #introspection #meditatedaily #meditationinspiration #sundayvibes
  • .
.
In the Ashtanga yoga practice we typically teach students to interlace the fingers and open the palms of the hands so that the back of the head can be cupped by the palms. This allows more control over the tripod position and extension through the shoulders. There should be almost no weight on the top of the head. The majority of your body’s weight is balanced by the base of the arms and shoulders.
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!