Interests and Motivational Development
Where do people's idiosyncratic hobbies and interests come from? This chapter reviews how, across the history of psychology, people have explained the development of interests. The emergence of enduring interests is an example of motivational development. Three broad kinds of theories are identified. One group of theories proposes that interests come from a source of intrinsic motivation, such as a curiosity instinct (William McDougall) or feelings of curiosity and interest (Silvan Tomkins, Manfred Prenzel). A second group of theories proposes that interests come from extrinsic motivational sources. Examples include John Dewey's model of intrinsic and extrinsic interest, and Gordon Allport's functional autonomy principle. A third group of theories proposes that interests are offshoots of deeper motives and needs, such as psychodynamic drives (Sigmund Freud), unfulfilled needs (Anne Roe), or physiological drives (Clark Hull). The chapter considers some abstract similarities and differences between these diverse theories.
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