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Keywords:

  • curiosity;
  • social interaction;
  • friendships;
  • anxiety;
  • distress tolerance;
  • humor;
  • positive emotion

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.