Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Interests and Learning

  • Ulrich Schiefele
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_351



Two different forms of interest are distinguished in the literature: situational and individual interest (cf. Hidi et al. 2004; Schiefele 2009). Situational interest is a temporary emotional state aroused by specific features of a situation, task, or object (e.g., vividness of a text passage). It involves focused attention, increased cognitive functioning, persistence, enjoyment or affective involvement, and curiosity (Hidi et al. 2004; Renninger 2000; Silvia 2006). In addition, when interest is high, focusing attention and cognitive activity feel relatively effortless. According to Hidi (1995), automatic attention may explain the beneficial effect of interest on cognitive functioning.

Individual interest is conceptualized as a relatively stable affective-evaluative orientation toward certain subject areas or objects (e.g., Hidi et al. 2004; Krapp 1999; Schiefele 2009). More specifically, individual interest is...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany