The Study of Explicit and Implicit Representations of Curiosity



Curiosity is usually viewed as an urge to develop and learn, based upon intrinsic motivation. Therefore, it important to find out how different people represent curiosity. The study aimed to investigate mental representations of curiosity in all their variety. Participants were asked to name any features of the concept ‘curiosity’ that came to their minds, and then to create a metaphoric comparison, illustrating this concept. Sample: N=45, aged 18-28 (M = 20,14), students of SPSU. Curiosity was depicted by participants as something that is spontaneous and related to the process of searching new information. It is associated with obstacles, such as social rules or inaccessibility of an object that a person is curious about. Curiosity, on the one hand, is connected to cognitive processes, specifically visual perception. On the other hand, being curious means being childish, tactless, naïve. A discrepancy was discovered between explicit and implicit representations of curiosity. Explicit representations of curiosity are more stereotypical: it is wrong to demonstrate curiosity, but feeling curious is a pleasant emotional state, that evokes interest and activity when interacting with the world. Implicitly curiosity seems to be uncontrollable, but helpful if one wants to obtain usually inaccessible or hidden information.

General Information

Keywords: curiosity, metaphor, representations of curiosity

Journal rubric: General Psychology, Personality Psychology, History of Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Avanesyan M.O., Bashmakova I.P. The Study of Explicit and Implicit Representations of Curiosity. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2017. Vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 235–248. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Marina O. Avanesyan, PhD in Psychology, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:

Iana P. Bashmakova, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:



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