Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 391–405 | Cite as

Connecting with Learning: Motivation, Affect and Cognition in Interest Processes

  • Mary AinleyEmail author
Original Article


In this paper we draw on our research on interest to explore the questions posed for this special issue. Interest is conceptualized as an affective state that represents students’ subjective experience of learning; the state that arises from either situational triggers or a well-developed individual interest. Drawing on the broad research literature on interest, and using our own findings in relation to the state of interest, we consider how interest represents an integration of affect, motivation and cognition. In particular, how the state of interest brings together motivation in the form of prior goals and interests and focuses them into on-task behavior. We illustrate ways that our research monitoring on-task sequences of affect and behavior, is confronting some of the methodological concerns posed in relation to measurement of affective states. Finally, we examine some of the paths by which triggered states of interest can contribute to productive student engagement with learning.


Interest Engagement On-task measures 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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