Individual Differences in Experience-Producing Tendencies
More than a decade ago, presenters at a conference on imagination, play and curiosity (e.g., Keller, 1987; Wohlwill, 1987) suggested that more attention needed to be paid to individual differences in curiosity and exploration. The presence of a section on individual differences in the present volume indicates that those earlier suggestions did not fall on deaf ears. In this chapter, I argue that individual differences in curiosity and exploration represent an important subcategory of behaviors that I will call experience-producing tendencies. I then review some preliminary research on the relation between individual differences in the tendency to produce experiences through exploration and individual differences in measured intelligence and achievement. My interpretation of the role of exploration in intellectual development is tentative and speculative in nature, but it is consistent with some recent views of how children create their own environments and thus influence their own intellectual abilities (e.g., Anastasi, 1985; Plomin, 1986; Scarr & McCartney, 1983).
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