The Hungry Mind: Intellectual Curiosity Critical to Academic Performance


…a hungry mind” is a core determinant of individual differences in academic achievement.  – Authors of, The Hungry Mind : Intellectual Curiosity is the Third Pillar of Academic Performance

Care2  reports this week on a study out in the November issue of  Perspectives on Psychological Science  that suggests that intellectual curiosity is critical to academic achievement.  According to the article, ” While intelligence and effort are certainly important predictors of academic performance, Sophie von Stumm of the University of Edinburgh and her colleagues argue that curiosity can be thought of as the “third pillar of academic performance.” Their findings are important not only for predicting student performance, but also for how well a potential employee may do their job.”

Researchers reviewed data from 200 studies that looked at how 50,000 students rated their own intellectual curiosity and other factors. Curiosity turned out to be as important a factor as conscientiousness.

“Curiosity is basically a hunger for exploration,” von Stumm says. “If you’re intellectually curious, you’ll go home, you’ll read the books. If you’re perceptually curious, you might go traveling to foreign countries and try different foods.” Both of these, she thought, could help you do better in school.

LI4E completely agrees!  We’ve been supporting the Curiosity Driven Life for more than six years, and individually, all our lives, not just for academic reasons, but also because a life of curiosity and interest makes for a life well and meaningfully lived!   It’s wonderful to see some research backed support of the power of curiosity.  But the belief in that power is not new.

No less than Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity… Never lose a holy curiosity.”

Read on for more on the power of curiosity, how to inspire it in your own life and the lives of others:

And visit our General Discussion group for some active conversation on the joys of curiosity!