“Remain curious and keep learning” is the quote among few citations that one often come across in his news feed .A new research published in a neuroscience journal-Neuron this Thursday has actually proved this citation . The study was conducted by researchers from University of California at Davis, concluding that people learn more enthusiastically in a state of curiosity, and that spirit of inquiry fosters memory.
The findings published are a result of efforts by Charan Ranganath- a neuroscientist at UC Davis and his colleagues. The neuroscientist and his fellows interviewed a group of individuals who willing agreed to be a part of the database for the study. The volunteers were asked about certain trivia questions and were monitored for their brain functioning during the process of answering.
For imaging their brain activities functional MRI was used. The team noticed increased activity in the hippocampus during the state of curiosity, triggering brains reward system resulting in emotion of excitement and happiness. Hippocampus as one should recall is the part of brain that is responsible for integrating new memories, and consolidating them from short term to long term memories.
Furthermore, when participants’ were asked to recall their answers to questions a day later, they remember 71 percent responses to high-curiosity questions as compared to 54 percent of questions creating low curiosity at that time. They were also able to recollect the incidental happenings such facial expressions in their brain that they observed while they were in the condition of increased inquisitiveness.
The author Charan Ranganath told that curiosity recruits the reward system of the brain building interactions between the reward system and hippocampus leaving brain in a situation that forces it to retain the information and fosters learning even though the piece of information is of no use.
The team plans to do further study in order to evaluate the use of curiosity in school settings to promote learning or in senior centres to hold off age related memory loss.