Exploratory behavior can be defined as an individual’s tendency to explore or find out more about his or her environment. It reflects the tendency to respond to novelty and cues. Exploratory behavior, also called novelty seeking, is one of the four dimensions of temperament according to Cloninger’s model of personality.
People who are exploratory in nature seek more diversity and novelty and have a desire to experience and learn more. They crave thrills. They tend to be attracted to large crowds and bright colors. They may exhibit characteristics such as inquisitiveness, motivation, self-belief, and adaptability. On the flip side, they may be uninterested and lack inspiration when they don’t come across new experiences.
Exploratory behavior and curiosity are important traits needed for a child’s development. In the first nine months, infants tend to be very curious about any new object, person, or event and explore relentlessly. Exploration dominates other personalities during this time. This tendency to explore continues well into childhood.
Exploratory behavior and curiosity go hand in hand. Whenever you’re curious about something, you tend to explore the source of your curiosity. Exploring either satisfies your curiosity or kindles imore . This makes you explore more, find new unknown things that arouse your curiosity. Though exploration and curiosity are related traits, exploration is not driven by curiosity at all times. Children can just go around the environment, explore, and come across new things that kindle their curiosity. Apart from curiosity, exploration can be driven by uncertainty or complexity.
Researchers have described two different types of exploration. The first type is when children explore a familiar or novel environment and may come across something new. The second type is when they come across something new, and this kindles their curiosity. This curiosity leads them to explore more.
Whenever you come across an unfamiliar experience, your brain tries to overcome the uncertainty. The novelty of the experience sets into motion the desire to explore. The brain’s reward system is also responsible for mediating exploratory behavior. Exploratory behavior is influenced by various factors. These include specific neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, genes inherited, and environmental factors.
Personality traits are influenced by a heritable genetic component. People of certain genetic types are more likely to be exploratory compared to others.
The COMT gene carries instructions for the production of the Catechol-O-Methyltransferase enzyme. In the brain, the COMT enzyme facilitates the breakdown of neurotransmitters which are chemical messengers. COMT enzyme breaks down neurotransmitters like dopamine and catecholamines in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. This region is involved with personality, planning, abstract thinking, emotion, and other traits. Dopamine signaling influences the reward system in the brain. Changes in this gene affect dopamine levels and hence influence the reward system and have an effect on exploratory behavior.
rs4680 is one of the most widely studied single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs found in the COMT gene. Also called the Val158Met polymorphism, it affects enzymatic activity and dopamine metabolism.
Individuals with the AA genotype (Met Allele) have lesser enzyme activity and, as a result, more dopamine levels. These individuals tend to be more exploratory in nature. Carriers of the GG genotype (Val allele) have a higher enzyme activity and, as a result, lower dopamine levels. These individuals are less exploratory in nature.
Surrounding environment: Studies show children tend to explore more in an unfamiliar environment. Adults likewise are more likely to explore in an uncertain environment.
Personality traits, in general, are very complex. There are no good or bad traits. Each trait has its unique strengths. Each trait is a factor that shapes your life and your personality as you go ahead. You can develop your exploratory nature by following these simple recommendations. Try out new ways to complete a task by changing your usual routine. Instead of taking the same route to work every day, you can experiment with different routes. Try finding a new route for any destination you go to. This will let you think differently and improve exploratory behavior. Seeking multiple solutions to the same problems aids in improving exploratory behavior.
Encourage children to learn more and explore the subject beyond the scope of the prescribed textbook. They will learn a lot, gain more knowledge and become more exploratory. Encourage them to opt for new or different subjects too so they can explore all their options and find what interests them.
The term "self-Esteem" is used to describe a person's subjective sense of self-worth or value. It is basically the opinion you have about yourself or how much you like and appreciate yourself. This is integral to a person's identity.
Self-Esteem is often referred to as self-worth, self-regard, or self-respect also. It includes all the beliefs about yourself, like the appreciation of how you look and feel, your behavior, and how you feel about specific attributes or abilities that you have.
The right level of self-esteem is needed. Too much or too low self-esteem can be harmful. A high level of self-esteem, taking into account a realistic point of view, is considered to be ideal.
Self-Esteem is important for self-motivation and achieving success. Studies show that high, realistic self-esteem is important for maintaining good mental health. It is also crucial for the development of a child. Children need to be treated with kindness, love, and respect from an early age to develop positive self-esteem. The experiences that a child faces during their growing years are vital to shaping their self-esteem levels.
Employees who have a better sense of self-worth are found to focus better, require less time off, and also get along better with their team members.
People of certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of having better self-esteem and may exhibit characteristics such as being appreciative, encouraging, positive, accepting of other people, speak up, helpful, and focused on solutions rather than problems.
The OXTR gene carries instructions for the production of the oxytocin receptor protein. This protein acts as a receptor to oxytocin and binds to it. Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter, chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons. This hormone plays a role in female reproductive functions. It also impacts social functions and emotions such as self-esteem, bonding behavior, empathy, trust, and optimism.
rs53576 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or an SNP in the OXTR gene. Individuals with the GG genotype were found to have higher self-esteem, be more empathetic and optimistic. Carriers of the A allele were found to have a risk for negative mood states.
Children who grow up without basic needs or in the presence of psychologically troubled adults are at a higher risk of developing self-esteem problems.
Discrimination based on age, sex, disability, or race has negative effects on self-esteem.
Children with physical disabilities or other challenges may struggle more with self-esteem issues compared to others.
The kind of people you interact with, your job, and comments or thoughts you hear from people around you have an impact on self-esteem.
Too much self-esteem can lead to a strain in personal relationships, and the person may lack empathy and not understand what problems the other person is going through. Too little self-esteem affects mental health. Mental health may deteriorate, and the person may feel depressed and make bad choices.
People with healthy levels of self-esteem will take better care of themselves and will take decisions that will enhance them rather than break them. They tend to have a positive outlook on life and feel confident.
It is okay to have low self-esteem from time to time. That's a part of life. Prolonged periods of low self-esteem can pose a problem and may lead to
- A feeling of hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Mental disorders
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Decrease in productivity
People with low self-esteem struggle with expressing their thoughts, lack confidence, have a negative outlook on life, and tend to put others' needs before their own. They usually have a negative outlook on life and are scared of failure.
Healthy levels of self-esteem are necessary to maintain mental health, boost self-confidence, and have a good, quality life. There are ways by which you can address self-esteem issues and boost self-esteem.
- Find the reason behind why you have low self-esteem and look for things that affect it. Once you identify the cause, you can address it and make changes to improve your self-esteem.
- Respect the work you do and understand how important you are. Don't put others' needs in front of yours always, and keep track of how much you're helping someone else without taking care of yourself. Saying no when you think you have too much on your plate is okay and understandable.
- Make time for yourself to appreciate yourself and how far you've come.
- Take care of yourself. Do not resort to measures that can affect your health. Taking care of your health is equally important to boost self-esteem.
- Set goals for yourself and try to achieve them. Completing goals regularly can help build self-esteem.
- It's okay to ask for help when you need it or if you feel too low.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be recommended by a doctor to help deal with very low self-esteem issues that interfere with the quality of life.