KAIN·ERASTY (from kainos – Ancient Greek for new, erastes – Ancient Greek for loving, admiration) – a drive for newness, which exists in the root of any other “basic drive” (like libido and will to power) and is wired deep into the brain of all human beings. The concept of kainerasty is created by Alexander Sosland in 2002. He claims that the aspiration to change the objects of desire, activities, and impressions belongs to all spheres of life. No matter what we do, we need an aspect of novelty.
Child psychologist Lidia Bozhovich (who was the student of Lev Vygotsky) pointed out that in our earliest years we need new impressions for the development of the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex – the layer of grey matter on the outside of the brain – is the location of our most advanced cognitive functions, including memory, attention, motivation, and goal-directed behavior.
The development of the cortex is closely correlated with a child’s cognitive stimulation. This means that in the earliest years of our lives we need a huge amount of new information to stimulate our brain functions, therefore to develop it. Another study called “Early childhood home environment predicts frontal and temporal cortical thickness in the young adult brain” found that the more mental stimulation a participant had had at the age of four, the more developed was their cortex.
“The most strongly affected region was the lateral left temporal cortex, which is on the surface of the brain, behind the ear. This region is involved in semantic memory, processing word meanings and general knowledge about the world,” researcher Martha Farah says.
But once a biological need, the need for new information becomes an intellectual demand. Human beings are dependent on all kinds of news. We’re getting easily addicted to the sources that offer us novelty because we enjoy continual chasing after excitement of learning something new. And the quantity of information is obviously more important here than its quality.