Interest and Learning

Paul J. Silvia

in Exploring the Psychology of Interest

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195158557
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786824 | DOI:

Series: Psychology of Human Motivation

 Interest and Learning

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Psychology's oldest writings about interest come from the field of education. This chapter reviews research on how interest affects learning, with an emphasis on reading and text processing. Interest promotes comprehension and memory for several reasons: interest increases attention to a text; interest makes people process a text more deeply; and interest promotes good meta-cognitive strategies. The chapter then turns to controversial research on seductive details. First suggested by John Dewey, seductive details are interesting but unimportant text elements that presumably impair comprehension. The evidence for a detrimental effect of seductive details, however, is inconsistent and overstated. Finally, the chapter considers the features of a text that make it interesting (such as coherence, concreteness, vividness, and ease of comprehension), and it points out that the appraisal model of interest (developed in Chapter 2) is a useful framework for explaining text-based interest.

Keywords: reading; comprehension; attention; text processing; coherence; concreteness; seductive details; John Dewey

Chapter.  6285 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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