Aren't You Curious?

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Studies have shown that the average 4 year-old asks between 300-400 questions per day, while adults ask only 20. Is this because us adults know everything that needs to be known already? Not necessarily, but we do know enough to get through our day, unlike a toddler.


Ian Leslie, author of Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, refers to the toddler's curiosity to ask all these questions as Diversive Curiosity (which makes one want to explore new places, people, and things…think of it as a search for novelty). For the most part, adults don’t run into anything novel on an average day, so there isn’t as much of a need for us to ask questions of others or to point to something that sparks our interest and wait for a knowledgeable adult to come to our rescue to either give us the toy or show us how it works.


There are, however, two additional “curiosities” that Leslie coins Epistemic Curiosity and Empathic Curiosity. Where these two differ lies in the motivation behind the intent—epistemic is the curiosity that makes you want to dig deeper and learn everything you can about a subject, while empathic focuses on an individual and your drive to understand the real person and why they do what they do. These two “curiosities” are typically used more so by adul