Parenting

To spark curiosity, don’t tell preschoolers too much or too little

child looking through a magnifying glass

Preschoolers are more likely to choose to gather more information about a topic if they know just enough about it to find it interesting, but not too much that it becomes boring, research finds.

Preschool children are sensitive to the gap between how much they know and how much there is to learn, the finding indicates.

Researchers say this “optimal” amount of existing knowledge creates the perfect mix of uncertainty and curiosity in children and motivates them to learn more.

“There is an infinite amount of information in the real world,” says lead author Jenny Wang, an assistant professor of cognitive psychology at Rutgers University. “Yet despite having to learn so much in such a short amount of time, young children seem to learn happily and effectively. We wanted to understand what drives their curiosity.”

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, focuses on how children’s knowledge level influences what information they find interesting. The findings suggest that children are not simply attracted to information by its novelty.

According to Wang, children are naturally curious but the difficult question is how to harness this natural curiosity.

“Ultimately, findings like this will help parents and educators better support children when they actively explore and learn about the world,” Wang says.

In a series of experiments, Wang and her coauthors designed in-person and online storybooks to measure how much three- to five-year-old preschool children know about different “knowledge domains.” The experiment also assessed their ability to understand and comprehend a specific topic, such as contagion, and asked how children’s current knowledge level predicts their interest in learning more about it, including whether someone will get sick after playing with a sneezing friend.

“Intuitively, curiosity seems to belong to those who know the most, like scientists, and those who know the least, like babies,” says Wang, who directs the Rutgers Cognition and Learning Center (CALC). “But what we found here is quite surprising: it was children in the middle who showed the most interest in learning more about contagion, compared to children who knew too little or too much.”

Source: Rutgers University

About The Author

Megan Schumann-Rutgers

This article originally appeared on Futurity

 

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

INNERSELF VOICES

a woman under a full moon holding a full hourglass
How To Live In Perfect Harmony
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
The word harmony has various meanings. It is used in music, in relationships, referring to inner…
full moon over bare trees
Horoscope: Week of January 17 - 23, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
01 15 cast normal to the gutter
Cast Normal to the Gutter: North Node in Taurus
by Sarah Varcas
The Taurus North Node affirms it is time to lay the physical foundations of the new world as the…
woman looking out a door through a "curtain" or icicles
Everybody Hurts Sometimes
by Joyce Vissell
Do you ever find yourself looking at certain people and thinking to yourself, "Surely that person's…
Crazy auroras including red. Taken by Rayann Elzein on January 8, 2022 @ Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland
Horoscope: Week of January 10 - 16, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
the face of an old man in profile with the face of a baby looking at him
Call to Action! We Must Make A Difference
by Pierre Pradervand
“Spiritual activism is a practice that brings together the otherworldly and inward-focused work of…
woman standing over an abyss
Light Calling From The Abyss
by Laura Aversano
My prayer is that we all create a space for the darkness to birth a new way of seeing, sensing,…
dandelion in seed stage in various colors
Renewal and Transformation: This Is Who You Are!
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
We are constantly in the process of renewing ourselves and transforming. Physically, we are…
Complicated, Complex, Or Both—Critical Distinctions in a New World
Complicated, Complex, Or Both—Critical Distinctions in a New World
by Alan Seale
In the mid-1960s, Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changin,” became an anti-establishment…
The 5 Poisons That Arise in our Mind -- and their Antidotes
The 5 Poisons That Arise in our Mind -- and their Antidotes
by Turīya
Anytime we find ourselves suffering, in a state of misery, not experiencing our innate Unreasonable…
The 5 Questions of The Deep Simple: What Wants to Happen?
What Wants to Happen?: The 5 Questions of "The Deep Simple"
by Alan Seale
To the intuitive mind, complexity is not a mystery, nor is it overwhelming. It’s just a different…

Selected for InnerSelf Magazine

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
5 Steps To Using Your Dreams To Find Answers
5 Steps To Using Your Dreams To Find Answers
by Nora Caron
I have always depended on dreams to provide me with clear answers about my direction in life,…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
by Tracy Marks
Astrology is a powerful art, capable of enhancing our lives by enabling us to understand our own…
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.