Curiosity changes the intrinsic structure of the brain, and makes learning and memorizing very easy, according to a new research. This new finding might help patients suffering neurological problems, and might also help in enhancing learning in the classroom.

“Our findings potentially have far-reaching implications for the public because they reveal insights into how a form of intrinsic motivation-curiosity-affects memory. These findings suggest ways to enhance learning in the classroom and other settings,” lead author Dr. Matthias Gruber, of University of California at Davis, said in a press release.

For the research, students were asked about their subject of interest, and questions were accordingly to check their memory. In second phase researchers randomly raised the questions for the memory test. In both the phases, brains of participants were scanned via fMRI.

Researchers came with a conclusion that people are better at learning when questions were on the topic of their interest.

“Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it,” Gruber said.
Study also revealed that curiosity enhances learning by changing the intrinsic structure of the brain.

“We showed that the intrinsic motivation actually recruits the very same
brain areas that are heavily involved in tangible, extrinsic motivation,” Gruber explained.

Researchers also found an increased activity in the hippocampus that is crucial for forming new memories and puts the mind in a state where a person can learn and memorize quickly.

“So curiosity recruits the reward system, and interactions between the reward system and the hippocampus seem to put the brain in a state in which you are more likely to learn and retain information, even if that information is not of particular interest or importance,” principal investigator Dr. Charan Ranganath of the University of California at Davis concluded.

The findings were published in the journal Neuron.

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