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Curiosity – the intrinsic desire to acquire new information – is a key factor for learning and memory in everyday life. To date, there has been very little research on curiosity and, therefore, our understanding of how curiosity impacts learning is relatively poor. In this chapter, we give an overview of psychological theories of curiosity and how initial research has focused on curiosity as a specific personality characteristic (i.e. trait curiosity). We then review recent findings on curiosity emerging in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Rather than examining trait curiosity, this recent line of research explores how temporary states of curiosity affect cognitive processes. Recent findings suggest that curiosity states elicit activity in the brain's dopaminergic circuit and thereby enhance hippocampus-dependent learning for information associated with high curiosity but also for incidental information encountered during high-curiosity states. We speculate how this new line of curiosity research could help to better understand the mechanisms underlying curiosity-related learning and potentially lead to a fruitful avenue of translating laboratory-based findings on curiosity into educational settings.
Although significant associations of childhood adversities with adult mental disorders are widely documented, most studies focus on single childhood adversities predicting single disorders.
To examine joint associations of 12 childhood adversities with first onset of 20 DSM–IV disorders in World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys in 21 countries.
Nationally or regionally representative surveys of 51 945 adults assessed childhood adversities and lifetime DSM–IV disorders with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
Childhood adversities were highly prevalent and interrelated. Childhood adversities associated with maladaptive family functioning (e.g. parental mental illness, child abuse, neglect) were the strongest predictors of disorders. Co-occurring childhood adversities associated with maladaptive family functioning had significant subadditive predictive associations and little specificity across disorders. Childhood adversities account for 29.8% of all disorders across countries.
Childhood adversities have strong associations with all classes of disorders at all life-course stages in all groups of WMH countries. Long-term associations imply the existence of as-yet undetermined mediators.
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