ESC, it may be one of the main causes of your anxiety and you still do not realize it
Most of my mom’s family members have been involved in education, they are primary and secondary teachers. Fortunately I had studies subsidized by my parents and the government of my country, I know the experience that exists in the teacher-student relationship, but I also had the opportunity to witness this environment from an external perspective, without being a student or the teacher. And something that always caught my attention was the frequency and the way in which the young students asked questions. The way they develop the answers they receive through more questions, even reaching a region where not even the teacher has the resources to answer in the most accurate way.
I like to think that children are little wise men, and over time they lose knowledge. -Aslaug Sigurdsdottir (Netflix’s Vikings)
A couple of centuries BC, Socrates had developed a method known as Mayeutica. This method conserved a position that had as logic the relationship of three inseparable elements of the human being; wisdom, virtue and happiness, it’s basis of teaching is that the teacher asked and the student answered (with the aim that the student learn through questions). However, it is still normal for teachers to ask children questions about topics like death.
Throughout human history, man has always wondered why of things. However, the response he received always responded in its impact to the idiosyncrasy of the questioner. Many questions are usually very elegantly answered through science, as the philosopher Herbert Feigl once said;
Science aims at understanding a maximum of facts in terms of a minimum of concepts and theoretical assumptions. — Herbert Feigl
In search of the answers
There is a motivational state of mind that moves human thinking in search of more answers, it may even go according to the age of the curious; In a public access article in the journal Child Development, published at the beginning of the present decade, eighty children aged 2 to 6 years were studied and related exploratory behavior with their explanations. They wanted to find out if the quality of the received explanation influences behavior right after receiving it. They found that children use self-generated explanations to guide their exploration, developing conclusions themselves based on their own explanation.
We tend to ask questions when we notice a lack of information about issues that somehow affect us, but this is not always the case. For example, we never ask ourselves, why do people dress in such a way? We do not have the information, it is an opportunity to ask ourselves such a question, but it seems that nothing motivates us to do so. Why does this happen?
What motivates us to ask?
In cognitive psychology, there is a concept called Explanation-Seeking Curiosity (ESC), it is the mental state we talked about a while ago. Developed by the same Princeton University researchers, including Liquin, the concept is considered the mental state that motivates people to seek an explanation. They analyzed 867 people classified into three different studies; They realized that novelty, surprise and lack of information help generate this state of mind. They also found that the result of the response affects people’s motivation to ask.
That is, if the answer can affect your well-being, there is more motivation to ask that question. So, if at any time in your life you are worried about that (perhaps philosophical) question that does not let you sleep, or may even go to extremes and generate mental states like anxiety or depression, be aware that you are asking yourself the question because you think the answer may affect you. Even wondering why you’re asking those questions can help you, thanks to a concept in psychology called cognitive defusion.