Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

8-1-2021

Abstract

Curiosity is a universal and malleable positive character strength. It has been linked to physical, social, emotional, and psychological well-being, academic success, and success in adulthood. Curiosity is especially important in early childhood because this is a critical stage of development when children’s curiosity is still abundant and organic. But for all its value, curiosity remains under-recognized and under-studied. There is no universally agreed upon definition of curiosity in adults or children. As a result, the research community has varying opinions on how to define, measure, and enhance curiosity. And in many current day classrooms, an overly rigid top-down structure contributes to a disconcerting trend of diminishing curiosity as children grow older. Reviewing the scientific research across various fields, I describe seven psychological constructs (attention, novelty, solitude, inquiry, exploration, surprise, and awe) that can foster curiosity behaviors. I designed a Curiosity Toy Kit incorporating these seven curiosity components to be used as positive interventions for enhancing curiosity in early childhood, when children are 5-6 years old and entering formal education. Adults can use the Curiosity Toy Kit to encourage children to develop positive curiosity behaviors, helping them to flourish in school and beyond.

Keywords

curiosity, childhood curiosity, well-being, positive psychology, positive education, character strengths, attention, novelty, solitude, inquiry, exploration, surprise, awe

Topic

Curiosity, Positive Education, Well-Being/Flourishing, Character Strengths and Virtues

Format

Literature Review

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Date Posted: 14 September 2021