In an experiment, psychology professor Dr. Daniel Willingham at the University of Virginia says that the participants were shown four photos, each with a cash prize and were asked to choose one. Then, the photos were repeated until they selected the one with the best payout. But when “a novel photo popped up,” they chose it more frequently than the odds would dictate.
Willingham points out in an NYT article on curiosity that along with animals, humans “will forgo a known payoff to investigate the unknown.” If you don’t believe it, how often have you jumped on the Internet to research something and 30 minutes later found yourself pursuing a series of other subjects that made you curious?
To grab our attention, the fashion industry changes clothing styles constantly and the auto industry makes annual tweaks to their vehicles, while the home décor and improvement folks make a fetish out of change. A new medication is promoted on TV and millions of eyeballs are on it.
Takeaway: It’s the new and different that gets attention. New ideas, products and services, change of colors and logo designs, and even new business cards. A revised newsletter masthead and layout or an updated website design. Do something to create curiosity.