One of the distinct differences I've noticed between gamers who started gaming after D&D became really popular (c. 1983 or 1984) is that they aren't as curious as those who started before that, in my experience. Particularly those who started gaming before D&D actually appeared, playing board wargames and/or historical miniatures. I got my start with games such as Avalon/Hill's Afrika Korps (see map up above), a fun introductory boardgame. I think I still have my copies of Panzerblitz and Panzer Leader buried deep in the collection.
Playing these games - or playing miniatures - often involved fairly extensive supplemental research about the battles and wars being played out on the table. Did Rommel make a mistake in laying siege to Tobruk? Probably. How effective were pikes in stopping cavalry charges? Most of the time - especially when used by the Swiss. Was Charles the Bold's Burgundian Army something different than what had been done before? Yes. And so on and so forth. Looking up obscure references in university libraries was seen as part of the fun. The lasting effect of this has been that I carry this research curiosity into role-playing games. What did Tolkien have to say about the origin of orcs? What was Star Fleet's General Order 7? Was there a specific location for Miskatonic University, according to Lovecraft?
I might have encountered a skewed sample of newer gamers, but I think this habit isn't one being taught to newer gamers. And I think that's unfortunate.