The Hook, Curiosity, and the Brain is the title of a post over at Eide Neurolearning Blog. It describes the results of a study on what curiosity and questioning does to the brain. Here’s an excerpt:
When study subjects were interested in a question, their caudates (reward) and prefrontal cortices became activated as the brain prepared for more information to be coming their way.
If they found they had given an incorrect answer, the curiosity effect seemed even stronger, and intensity of curiosity predicted better memory for the answer when tested later.
This obviously has many implications for classroom lessons. The idea of introducing lessons with “novelty” is not new to most teachers, and I discuss it in my new book.
This study did, however, get me thinking about the reading strategies of asking questions and making predictions in a slightly different way, though. When I teach that strategy in class, I explain that good readers ask questions and make predictions, and then naturally continue to read to find answers and see if they’re correct in what they think will happen. That generally makes sense to students.
Now, though, we can also review this study, and see evidence that using these strategies actually causes changes to the brain. This would tie-in nicely to the lessons we do on the impact of learning on the brain.