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Curiosity
Mar 3, 2010
Curiosity is one of the most underrated phenomena in the world. It's ironic that people aren't more curious about curiosity. It's a powerful thing.

For example, if you ever wondered if someone is attracted to you, the answer lies in curiosity. If someone asks personal questions about your past, your plans, your likes and dislikes, that is an unambiguous sign of attraction. If someone tries to steer you into the bedroom without some conspicuous data gathering, that is a sign of simple horniness.

The friend variety of attraction is milder than the lover type. You can be friends with someone for years without remembering the names of his or her siblings. But if you love someone, you automatically develop a voracious appetite for information about that person.

When someone you are not attracted to talks a lot about his or her own life, you get bored to death. When someone you are attracted to talks a lot, you might find that person to be full of life, and fascinating. Attraction and curiosity are inseparable.

Let's say you're interviewing for a job. You wonder if the interviewer is attracted to you as a potential employee or just going through the motions. Look for the curiosity trail. If his questions are all of the typical variety, he's probably just moving through the steps. If you sense some questions that veer off the normal path, such as asking where you like to golf, you almost certainly have something more.

If you're trying to sell something, it is useful to judge how much the other party really wants your product. Look for curiosity. If the potential buyer says nice generic things about a product, it's not as good an indicator as if he asks a series of questions, especially if the questions include some that don't seem important to the decision. In poker terms, questions about relatively unimportant aspects of a product are the buyer's tell.

A good book conspicuously manipulates your curiosity. The writer develops a character that you are attracted to, and then creates a series of situations in which it is not obvious how things will turn out. The Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling are a sensational example of that simple formula. Harry is young, and kind, and cute with his glasses and mop of hair. And he's an orphan. In our culture, Harry comes as close as you can get to the sort of person that almost anyone would like. That's the first part of the formula. Then Rowling ends each chapter with a tease of danger to come, making you wait a chapter or more to find out how things will turn out for Harry. Rowling became a billionaire by manipulating the connection between attraction and curiosity.

Movie studios know how important it is to feature likeable stars in their movies. It compensates for bad writing, bad directing, and bad everything else. If you are attracted to the lead actor, your curiosity is activated. It doesn't take a lot of movie magic to make you interested in what will happen to Sandra Bullock. As soon as she appears on screen you start getting curious about her because she's so likeable.

Curiosity is rarely faked simply because people aren't generally aware that it is such a reliable indicator of attraction. Once you learn to recognize the connection between attraction and curiosity, it's like having a mild form of ESP.

 
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Mar 4, 2010
MIKEFOOK says, "I'm interested in the WHY we have it (curiosity)..."

That's your curiosity acting up again. :-)

No back up data, but I think what we call "curiosity" is just another dimension of that weird thing that sets us apart in the animal kingdom. Creativity.

Why are human beings creative? Many different views on that question. If we park them all, except for the anthropological view, then I would say the answer is that creativity arose as a byproduct of another human trait. Consciousness.

Why did human consciousness arise? Damed if I know, but my guess is that it accidentally offered some advantage to our quest to get our hands on the best breeding partner, get more food, gain more power over our environment ... that sort of thing.

In summary, human beings are curious because we are insatiably !$%*!$
 
 
Mar 4, 2010
It's interesting that curiosity is one thing that some number above 90% of people in the world appear to have an abundance of. Whomever, whatever caused all this mess (cosmos) made it a fundamental part of the game... the variable "curiosity" looms large as a cause of a hell of a lot of grief in the world, as well as being the driving force behind a whole lot of technological innovation.

Curiosity killed the cat - and a whole lot of people too. WTF is the reason we have it? To make the world go 'round? To make the world interesting and introduce some variability to an otherwise sterile place where everyone does their own thing?

I'm interested in the WHY we have it...

 
 
Mar 4, 2010
The Sandra Bullock choice is a very good one. She is appealing on the screen, but I can't think of a single movie she starred in that was any good.
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
@DWIGT

See v. (2)

IRONIC
adjective

(1) Edward's tone was ironic: sarcastic, sardonic, cynical, mocking, satirical, caustic, wry. ANTONYMS sincere.

(2) it's ironic that a former illiterate is now a successful writer: paradoxical, incongruous. ANTONYMS logical.
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
It didn't like my link...
Do a Google search for "Bloom Box 60 minutes"...
 
 
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Mar 3, 2010
I think it's ironic that as a well established humorist, you misused the word "irony."
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
Scott,

Anyone who doesn't like Sandra Bullock can go watch a boring movie... ;-)

On a totally UNRELATED topic... Since you are always so interested in Green technology and reducing consumption and being efficient and all... I thought I would send you this link to a story about a new type of more or less a fuel cell called a Bloom Box. You should check it out for curiosity if nothing else. Your governor has seen it and it runs many businesses including Google and Ebay... !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%* hi to the cat for me...
CW ;-)
 
 
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Mar 3, 2010
This will be controversial folks, so sets your 'thumbs down" button in your sights.

Scott Adams is absolutely, categorically correct in his observation on the significance of the curiosity tell.

And there is no better example than this forum. Why are "most" of us here? Scott's blogs feeds our curiosity about the interesting fellow who pulls Dilbert's strings.

And ... wait for it ... I also agree with Scott's Sandra Bullock illustration. Which also satisfies my curiosity about whether Mrs. Adams is a regular reader of this blog. Obviously not. ;-)
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
So... are we rehabilitating the gossip here? They are just better lovers than the rest of us?

I am profoundly incurious about the private lives of most people. Perhaps I'm just anti-social.

It could be worse. One the gentler ways I've heared someone pronounce another person a potted plant is to say the individual "lacks intellectual curiosity".
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
When do you put on your deodorant?
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
That could be why so many people have accused me of giving them mixed signals... unattractive, annoying people... I can always topic interesting and I'm often fascinated with the way people choose to communicate. I'm overly curious. :-(
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
I disagree with necessarily asking questions of people you love - that doesn't happen for me.

But I've being trying to work out what the "simple formula" is for JK Rowling's success. I think you've hit on at least part of the answer - thanks.
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
I knew my fiance was "the one" when I realized I didn't get tired of his stories. Actually, lack of curiosity is the *only* way I know something is bothering him - since he doesn't talk about his problems, my only clue is that he suddenly is not the least bit curious about what I'm up to.

Conversely, because he has little to no dating experience before me, he often misinterprets my genuine curiosity in him with "badgering". Or I really do badger the hell out of him, the tight lipped son of a *#($_@#.
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
Interesting blog.

When it comes to good fiction, there's more to curiosity than wondering what happens next. Exploring a character's past can be just as rewarding as their future.
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
Scott,

I disagree with your assertion that curiosity is rarely faked because people don't know about it. I think this principle is well known and used all the time. People often feign interest in other people's lives all the time when they want something from them. Of course, some may do it unconsciously. They may have simply been rewarded when they acted interested and have changed their behavior accordingly.
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
@ why21

It's not whether or not YOU adhere to the assertions Scott has made. It's more about whether or not you see the assertion proving true in a majority of other people.

In general,

I see this all the time when people think that since they are an exception (and many times, it's just that; they THINK they are an exception) to a concept that the concept is untrue.

Curious...
 
 
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Mar 3, 2010
No, i think if you are attracted to someone you are just trying to find out more about them so you can later manipulate them into the bedroom

its pretty much all about the endgame or "sale" as you were speaking of

I love my wife and am very attracted to her but i could give a crap about what her mom had for breakfast or what her brother is doing

then again, mainstream movies bore the snot out of me despite how attractive any of the stars are
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
During my co-op years in university, I went through many many interviews. They always ask you if you have any questions at the end. We were taught by the co-op office to ALWAYS HAVE QUESTIONS. Nothing says "I'm not interested in this job!" like saying "Nope, I think we covered everything, thanks!" You're much better off asking some poignant questions, even if you don't actually need the answer. So I suppose in that sense we were taught to manipulate the attraction/curiosity relationship.
 
 
Mar 3, 2010
You like Sandra Bullock ?!?!
 
 
 
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