In this showcase, Prof. Danielle Bassett will present recent work studying individual and collective curiosity as network building processes using Wikipedia.

Date/Time: March 17, 16:30 UTC (9:30am PT/12:30pm ET/17:30pm CET)

Speaker: Danielle Bassett (University of Pennsylvania)

Title: The curious human

Abstract: The human mind is curious. It is strange, remarkable, and mystifying; it is eager, probing, questioning. Despite its pervasiveness and its relevance for our well-being, scientific studies of human curiosity that bridge both the organ of curiosity and the object of curiosity remain in their infancy. In this talk, I will integrate historical, philosophical, and psychological perspectives with techniques from applied mathematics and statistical physics to study individual and collective curiosity. In the former, I will evaluate how humans walk on the knowledge network of Wikipedia during unconstrained browsing. In doing so, we will capture idiosyncratic forms of curiosity that span multiple millennia, cultures, languages, and timescales. In the latter, I will consider the fruition of collective curiosity in the building of scientific knowledge as encoded in Wikipedia. Throughout, I will make a case for the position that individual and collective curiosity are both network building processes, providing a connective counterpoint to the common acquisitional account of curiosity in humans.

Related papers:

Hunters, busybodies, and the knowledge network building associated with curiosity.

The network structure of scientific revolutions.

Janna Layton (she/her)
Administrative Associate - Product & Technology