"You'll never believe what she did next?"

“Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you seen any of these (they’re all real)?

  • You’ll Never Believe What She Did To Stop The Baby From Crying
  • You WON’T Believe What They Caught The Cashiers Doing
  • You’ll Never Believe What Happened When A Girl Did Gymnastics For A Dolphin.
  • You’ll Never Believe What The Parrot Did Next!
  • What This Man Did To His Attic is Unbelievable.
  • 8 Celebs Who Have Killed People
  • Wow! I can’t believe he just did that!
  • 10 Tips from the Pope for Becoming a Happier Person
  • Father is Shocked When He Discovers The Horrifying Letter from His Son
  • 15 Images You Won’t Believe Weren’t Photoshopped
  • Watch a Paddle Boarder’s Crazy Experience with Orcas in the Wild

YouTube has nearly half a million videos with “You Won’t Believe” in the title!

Each title is deliberately structured to poke your curiosity, many intend to turn you into clickbait.

George Loewenstein defined curiosity as a function of information gaps and our need to fill those gaps. A gap in the information that we know produces a feeling of deprivation that we label curiosity. That feeling of deprivation motivates us to fill the gap. The feeling of deprivation is created by the most basic inner workings of the brain. To be asked “did you see what she did?” is a powerful motivator because everyone wants to know what she did. The information gap can’t be too large though because that would be too much work to fill and our curiosity would slip away, it needs to be easily attainable. To be asked “did you see what she did?” is a relatively small gap for us and the addition of a link to a video that shows what she did makes for a very powerful motivator.

Type curiosity gaps into any search engine and you’ll get thousands of helpful articles telling you how to create post titles that will result in people clicking on your page (most of these articles also use the theory of curiosity gaps in their titles).

You are on the receiving end of all of this curiosity manipulation. Curiosity is a powerful thing, we can use it usefully, or we can spend our life clicking on pictures of cats.

“Curiosity is the most superficial of all the affections, it changes its object perpetually; it has an appetite which is very sharp, but very easily satisfied; and it has always an appearance of giddiness, restfulness and anxiety”

Edmund Burke

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