Epistemic curiosity and related constructs: Lacking evidence of discriminant validity
Epistemic curiosity, the “desire for knowledge that motivates individuals to learn new ideas, eliminate information-gaps, and solve intellectual problems” ( Litman, 2008 ), has been identified as a crucial variable in different areas and stages of life. However, several constructs have been proposed that might be highly similar regarding construct domain, but are based on different theoretical positions and were investigated under different labels. Three of these constructs, namely need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas, were investigated regarding discriminant validity. Based on two studies with 395 and 191 participants, no evidence of discriminant validity could be found. Especially, correlations within several measures of curiosity, interpreted as convergent validity, had mean correlations of .60 and .59 for the two studies, respectively. Correlations between curiosity measures and the related constructs need for cognition, typical intellectual engagement, and openness for ideas, interpreted as discriminant validity, were virtually identical (.59 and .57, respectively). Furthermore, exploratory factor analysis indicated that one factor explained the variance of the investigated constructs reasonably well. It is concluded that integrating the body of research that has been built around these constructs might stimulate future research on epistemic curiosity.