Curious learners have better recall


Research discussed in an article in The Conversation indicates that the more curious you are about a topic and motivated you are to learn about it, the more likely you are to remember the information. It discusses the increased ability of research participants to remember more information about a topic when they are curious about the subject matter, and to recall information unrelated to the topic when presented at the same time. This suggests that memory is more receptive to retaining information when the brain is actively engaged and curiosity is sparked. Changes in the hippocampus of the brain, which is associated with memory, were observed during learning and recall.

It follows that when you, as a Griffith student, have a choice in topics for an assessment task, you can apply this principle by selecting the one that interests you. Engaging with a particular topic in your essay, report or presentation could assist in your recall of other related and even unrelated facts or images for exams or other assessment tasks. When presented with a choice in topics, choose one that you find interesting, since it could help you remember more than you expected.

The article continues to talk about motivation. It explains that intrinsic motivation is performing the task out of your own interest or benefit. Therefore, when you are curious about a topic you are more likely to be engaged, intrinsically motivated and more likely to be able to retain and recall the information.

For information on Academic Skills resources that might be useful for planning and structuring your assignment, exam strategies or postgraduate study, click on the links below:

For help with academic writing, book a consultation with one of our Learning Advisers in the library.