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Description: I cannot say I understand exactly why curiosity killed the cat; cats have always struck me as cautious but inquisitive explorers (though apparently a cat named Blackie had a run-in with a chimney back in 1916 that was the death of him). Is curiosity, or when is curiosity, a good thing? Perhaps almost always. What do you think? Does it play a vital role in child development? Does it play central roles in life planning, mental health and wellbeing? As you speculate on your answer to these questions read the article linked by a cognitive neuroscientist for a little food for existential thought.

Source: Curiosity killed the cat, but it is still a vital mindset, Daniel J. Levitin, The Globe and Mail.

Date: February 29, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Adrian Balea from Pixabay

Article Link:

Evaluate this conversation between a high school guidance counselor and a grade 10 student:

Student: I don’t know what I should aim for in terms of a job or career.

Counselor: Well, what are you passionate about?

Student: I don’t know.

Counselor: Well go and find out and then come back and I can help you figure out how to act on it.

Finding what you are passionate about is NOT a starting place and, in fact, passions that pop up out of the blue tend to be a bit suspect. Much better to work at being curious, at being interested and in pursuing curiosities and interests as they might lead to engagements and eventually to passions and if not, well having pursued interests and curiosities will have made for a richer life regardless. In addition, if you look at it from a developmental perspective, committing to curiosity may actually provide you with a solution to an increasing common challenge in the area of identity development and life planning that being that if you wait until you have a career choice clearly in your sights before you start working towards your future you may never get started. This is due to the fact that, more than ever before, that what high school students end up doing when they finish their education did not exist when they were in high school and trying to figure out where their career explorations was going to take them. Being curious can be like a life compass that can get you moving on figuring things out without yet having a final career goal in mind. Curiosity might have killed cats a century ago, but it builds futures, mental health and wellbeing today so find, expand, and follow yours! As Albert Einstein famously said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What drives curiosity and interest for you?
  2. How might curiosity play a role in identity development?
  3. How might curiosity play an important role in future planning?

References (Read Further):

Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2014). Curiosity is as important as intelligence. Harvard Business Review, 24(4), 166-171. Link

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2016). What the heck is inquiry-based learning. Retrieved October, 8, 2017. Link

Nojavanasghari, B., Baltrusaitis, T., Hughes, C. E., & Morency, L. P. (2016). The Future Belongs to the Curious: Towards Automatic Understanding and Recognition of Curiosity in Children. In WOCCI (pp. 16-22). Link

Karwowski, M. (2012). Did curiosity kill the cat? Relationship between trait curiosity, creative self-efficacy and creative personal identity. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 8(4), 547-558. Link

Clark, S., & Seider, S. (2017). Developing critical curiosity in adolescents. Equity & Excellence in Education, 50(2), 125-141. Link

Hirschi, A., Herrmann, A., & Keller, A. C. (2015). Career adaptivity, adaptability, and adapting: A conceptual and empirical investigation. Journal of vocational behavior, 87, 1-10. Link

Silverstein, J. (2005). Just curious: Children’s use of digital reference for unimposed queries and its importance in informal education. Library Trends, 54(2), 228-244. Link

Koen, J., Klehe, U. C., & Van Vianen, A. E. (2012). Training career adaptability to facilitate a successful school-to-work transition. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81(3), 395-408. Link