Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


  • Amanda M. Durik
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_527-1



An approach response to stimuli encountered in the environment, accompanied by emotional engagement (often positive), heightened attention, and active cognitive processing.


Interest is a particular emotional and cognitive experience that occurs in response to stimuli in the environment. In this sense, interest emerges at the intersection between individuals and available stimuli in the environment (Dewey 1913). In general, interest is the emotion that motivates individuals to approach stimuli in order to experience and think about the environment, for the purpose of having a fuller understanding of the world (Izard 1977). Interest can be thought of either as a current state (feeling interested at a particular moment) or as a trait (a general tendency to value and gravitate toward particular classes of stimuli or domains).

Forms of Interest: State and Trait

Interest as a State Experience

The state of interest is...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA