How Are Curious People Viewed and How Do They Behave in Social Situations? From the Perspectives of Self, Friends, Parents, and Unacquainted Observers

Authors


  • The data collection for this project was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant R01-MH42427 to David C. Funder. Todd Kashdan was funded by the Center for Consciousness and Transformation at George Mason University. See Funder, Kolar, and Blackman (1995) or www.rap.ucr.edu for a more complete description of the RAP-I data set. The full tables of correlations presented in this article will be available at http://toddkashdan.com/articles.php. We are grateful to Paul Silvia and William Breen for providing predicted behavioral ratings.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Todd B. Kashdan, Department of Psychology, MS 3F5, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030. Email: tkashdan@gmu.edu.

Abstract

Objective

People who are open and curious orient their lives around an appreciation of novelty and a strong urge to explore, discover, and grow. Researchers have recently shown that being an open, curious person is linked to healthy social outcomes.

Method

To better understand the benefits (and liabilities) of being a curious person, we used a multimethod design of social behavior to assess the perspectives of multiple informants (including self, friends, and parents) and behavior coded from direct observations in unstructured social interactions.

Results

We found an impressive degree of convergence among self, friend, and parent reports of curiosity, and observer-rated behavioral correlates of curiosity. A curious personality was linked to a wide range of adaptive behaviors, including tolerance of anxiety and uncertainty, positive emotional expressiveness, initiation of humor and playfulness, unconventional thinking, and a nondefensive, noncritical attitude.

Conclusions

This characterization of curious people provides insights into mechanisms underlying associated healthy social outcomes.

Ancillary