“Why”, A New Book About Curiosity

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I am a very curious person. If you read me regularly you will note that I cover everything from art to economics, demographics to culture, politics to fine art and more. I find that a lot of people in the toy and play industry share this sense of curiosity.

After all, it takes a curious person to want to know how to create a better water gun, talking doll or board game. In fact, when you think about it, "Trivial Pursuit" was really a game about curiosity invented by curious people for curious people.

That is why I am finding the book, "Why" by Mario Livio, so interesting. In fact, so interesting that I wanted to share it with you. Dr. Livio is an astrophysicist and a very curious man. He has written highly regarded books on neuroscience, biology, math, biology and psychology. You may be familiar with one of his other works that include "'The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number".

"Why" is his latest book and in it he explores what makes us, as human beings, so curious. It is chocked with some interesting concepts. One I found to be particularly interesting was that there are several kinds of curiosity. 

Perceptual Curiosity

Perceptual curiosity is the desire to find out what is going on when we see something new or out of the ordinary. For example, consider this man, riding on a New York subway, and holdng a very large peacock. Most of us (although not the "seen it all" New Yorkers in the below picture) would become curious about the bird and the owner. We would ask questions like: "Is it tame? "Will it try to peck my eyes out before I get to my stop?" Any way, that's what is called perceptual curiosity.

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Epistemic Curiosity

That is curiosity that arises from an unquenchable thirst to know more about everything. As the author points out, Leonard Da Vinci certainly had it as did Einstein and as do most inventors, scientists and scholars of all types. Our great toy inventors were and are extremely curious people. 

Specific Curiosity

Specific Curiosity arises from a desire to know some specific information. We can see this when we want to remember the name of a particular actress or restaurant.

Diversive Curiosity

This is the kind of curiosity that occurs when we are bored. How many times an hour do you check for emails, texts, posts and news. I have found that access to the Internet both stimulates and satisfies a curiosity to know what is going on all of the time. Morbid Curiosity

How many times have you been caught up in slow moving traffic only to discover that it has been caused by rubberneckers looking at a wreck as they pass it by. 

 Are you a curious person? If so, in which kind of curiosity do you engage.

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