A study published this week in the journal Neuron suggests why people learn better when their curiosity is piqued.
Researchers from UC Davis conducted fMRI scans on students and found evidence that activity in the midbrain was enhanced during states of high curiosity. The study indicated that curiosity was related to an increase in the activity of the brain chemical dopamine, which seemed to strengthen the students’ memories.
While this may be good news for human students and teachers, researchers have yet to test the findings on cats, a group to which curiosity is often said to be lethal. Good luck getting those proposals past IRB cat!