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When Curiosity Is Generosity: Social Curiosity Increases Advice Quality
Although people typically associate curiosity with learning, we propose that curiosity is also a critical ingredient for effective teaching, advising, and mentoring. Across contexts ranging from short-term advising interactions to long-term mentoring relationships, we find correlational (Studies 1-2B) and causal (Study 3) evidence that advisers with greater curiosity—in particular, social curiosity—are more effective: Advisees perceive their advice as higher in quality. We find that perspective-getting, through active listening and question-asking (Studies 2A-2B), and perspective-taking (Study 3) are critical behaviors that explain the relationship between social curiosity and advising quality. Moreover, we find that social curiosity can be externally induced, improving advisers’ ability to perspective-take and ultimately benefiting advisees (Study 3). Examining the critical role of social curiosity in the domain of advising, we demonstrate that advisers who learn to be more socially curious are better perspective-getters and perspective-takers, enabling them to become more effective teachers, advisers, and mentors.