How Do Interests Develop? Bridging Emotion and Personality

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

 How Do Interests Develop? Bridging Emotion and Personality

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In light of the history of thought on how interests develop, this chapter proposes a new theory of the development of interests. Called the emotion-attribution theory, this theory uses research on emotional knowledge and emotion understanding to explain the origins of interests. When people experience emotions, they generate explanations (often tacit ones) concerning the causes of the emotion. As a result, people develop stable knowledge about the kinds of events, objects, and situations that will evoke or dampen certain emotions. Interests can thus be understood in terms of people's beliefs and expectations concerning which events will be interesting and rewarding. Research on cognition and emotion can clarify the ways in which such emotional knowledge develops and changes. Some new experiments that test this model are presented, and the model is contrasted with other theories of the origins of interests.

Keywords: attribution; expectations; emotional knowledge; cognition

Chapter.  8110 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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