The Psychology Podcast

Perry Zurn & Dani Bassett || How Curiosity Connects Us

Episode Notes

Today we welcome Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett. 

Dr. Perry Zurn is Associate Professor of Philosophy at American University. He is the author or coauthor of more than 75 publications in philosophy, political theory, trans studies, and network science and has given hundreds of talks at local, national, and international venues. His work has been generously funded by organizations like the American Philosophical Association, the Center for Curiosity, the Lee Somers Fund and more. 

Dr. Dani S. Bassett is the J. Peter Skirkanich Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Physics & Astronomy, Neurology, and Psychiatry. They authored more than 390 peer-reviewed publications, which have garnered over 38,000 citations. Dr. Bassett has received multiple prestigious awards from the American Psychological Association, Sloan Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation among others. 

They often collaborate on research about neuroscience, curiosity, and the humanities. Recently, they co-wrote Curious Minds: The Power of Connection.

In this episode, I talk to Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett about curiosity. For them, curiosity is not just about gaining knowledge, it’s about connecting to the world and to each other. Each individual has their own style of connecting - they can be busybodies, hunters, or dancers at any given time. Perry and Dani also weigh in on how social media affects curiosity and how their network model of curiosity can improve education.

Website: &

Twitter: @perryzurn & @danisbassett



02:27 Perry and Dani’s interest in curiosity

06:26 Curiosity is connection

12:45 Network science 

15:18 Archetypes of curiosity

20:22 Deprivation vs interest-based curiosity 

23:56 Social curiosity

29:47 Cycling through the different styles of curiosity 

37:25 Is social media making us more curious? 

40:51 Consciously practicing curiosity 

42:32 Curiosity and learning