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How the Subjective Relationship Between the Self, Others, and a Task Drives Interest

  • Allison MasterEmail author
  • Lucas P. Butler
  • Gregory M. Walton
Chapter

Abstract

The present chapter explores the hypothesis that an important influence on interest is the perceived or subjective social context in which a task is completed—the perception of the relationship between the self, a task, and other people engaged in the task. We call this the triadic relationship in which a task is completed. We theorize that this triadic relationship is a key driver of interest from early in life, and sets the stage for the development of interest into childhood and adolescence. Specifically, we hypothesize that when people perceive themselves to be connected to others engaged in a task, or when they see themselves as working with others on a task rather than separately from others, this will inspire greater interest. In the present chapter, we review theoretical and empirical evidence supporting this hypothesis from both developmental and social psychology. We then map out the implications of this insight for interventions to improve individuals’ interest and academic performance.

Keywords

Interest Motivation Social context Subjective construal Social connection Mere belonging Development 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison Master
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lucas P. Butler
    • 2
  • Gregory M. Walton
    • 3
  1. 1.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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