When Curiosity Kills the Cat but Saves You

Curiosity is, well, a curious thing.

I mean, there’s a rumor going around that it’s so powerful it’s known to kill cats.

But you know as well as I do that it’s not only cats.

Curiosity wields its magical power on us humans, as well.

That’s because curiosity is an enticement.

We’re almost powerless against its effects.

It has a strange way of sucking us in again and again.

It’s relentless in that way.

Much like a pit bull, it doesn’t want to let go of its bite when it sinks its teeth in you.

But did you know there are two types of curiosity? 

And as a marketer, if you’re not using both, you’re leaving serious money on the table. 

Have I stoked your curiosity? 

If so, curiosity already has its fangs in you. 

The first type is called…

Perceptual Curiosity. 

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Think of perceptual curiosity as a mental itch that needs to be scratched. 

In its most basic form, perceptual curiosity is the driving force to seek out novel stimuli. 

In other words, people love to discover new things. 

Because of that, curiosity is a cognitive-induced deprivation

And if there’s one thing for sure in this world, humans hate to be deprived.

Go ahead, prove it to yourself right now. 

  • A personal trainer wants to put you on a strict diet. What’s the first thing you want?
    • Pizza. Ice cream. Alcohol. Candy.
  • You’ve been without sex for far too long.
    • How badly do you want sex? 
  • You tell your teenage daughter, “You can’t hang out with that crowd.”
    • How tempted is she to sneak out of the house? 

You know what I mean.

The other type of curiosity is called… 

Epistemic Curiosity. 

Epistemic curiosity is the drive to acquire knowledge

Imagine a man who loves to geek out on cars. 

He has a truck he’s restoring and needs all the information he can get his hands on.

Or a woman who loves creative design.  

She studies and practices her craft intensely. 

Or a child motivated to make the A/B honor roll. 

You get the picture. 

The point here is…

the human brain hates the very idea of deprivation.

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Whether seeking new stimuli or acquiring knowledge, don’t tell me (or you) we can’t have what we want when we want it. 

So, when you see something that grabs your curiosity, you naturally gravitate toward it.

And you can’t even help yourself.

Because you are hardwired that way.

But, of course, there are nuances one must take into consideration.

Like your audience.

Let’s take CMOS, for example.

If you are a Chief Marketing Officer or Head of Marketing, the safe bet is…

… you’d be curious to know the two questions CMOs are asking to get the help they need to navigate cross-channel traffic. 


If so, you’re experiencing a cognitive deprivation moment. 

In. Real. Time.

How’s it feel?

I know, I know… you hate me for doing that to your brain.

To help relieve this mental deprivation, you can check out my LinkedIn post on the topic here. 

When you do, you’ll see why Marcus Murphy, Co-founder of The Five Percent, left a one-word comment…


While you’re there, go ahead and leave a comment as well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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