When I started the doctoral program in Information Studies at UCLA, I wanted to focus on curiosity and creativity. I thought I'd try to answer questions like: What makes a person confident that she has the right information to make a decision? What makes her trust in one source over another, or seek confirming or dissenting information? Can we tap into people's curiosity to induce people to be more skeptical about the information they acquire?
Now that coursework is done and I've learned a great deal more about the field and its implications for other disciplines, my topic has shifted slightly to investigate a cultural influence on information practice: time orientation. On the surface, it may appear that time orientation has nothing to do with curiosity and creativity. However, Mike Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow--the transcendent state one enters when completely focused on the task at hand--is primarily recognizable by the realization that the passage of clock time doesn't seem to equate to the sensation of time passing during flow. Therefore, when engaged in information practice in such a way as to achieve flow, people often lose track of clock time. Further, the prioritization of tasks relies on the information agent's valuation of the outcome of each task, which is partially determined by his cultural time orientation. Thus, at any point one may have a different interpretation of some information item based on her cultural time orientation. Such temporal junctures create vulnerabilities for misinterpretation, which can be costly, particularly in businesses that depend on decentralized decision making.
So the appeal of any information activity may correlate to the potential for the acquisition of information that supports the information agent's time orientation.