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Exploring the Psychology of Interest$
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Paul J. Silvia

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195158557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195158557.001.0001

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Interest and Learning

Interest and Learning

(p.65) 3 Interest and Learning
Exploring the Psychology of Interest

Paul J. Silvia

Oxford University Press

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

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