© 2017

The Science of Interest

  • Paul A. O'Keefe
  • Judith M. Harackiewicz

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Theories and Perspectives

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
  3. Functions of Interest

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
    2. Dustin B. Thoman, Carol Sansone, Danielle Geerling
      Pages 27-47
    3. Paul A. O’Keefe, E. J. Horberg, Isabelle Plante
      Pages 49-67
  4. The Interest Spectrum

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 95-95
    2. Paul J. Silvia
      Pages 97-107
    3. Amanda M. Durik, Meghan Huntoon Lindeman, Sarah L. Coley
      Pages 125-148
  5. The Promotion and Development of Interest

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 187-187
    2. Chris S. Hulleman, Dustin B. Thoman, Anna-Lena Dicke, Judith M. Harackiewicz
      Pages 189-208
    3. Allison Master, Lucas P. Butler, Gregory M. Walton
      Pages 209-226
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 227-232

About this book


This exceptional volume analyzes the intricate roles interest plays in cognition, motivation and learning, and daily living, with a special focus on its development and maintenance across life domains. Leading experts discuss a spectrum of interest ranging from curiosity to obsession, and trace its functions in goal-setting, decision-making, self-regulation, and performance. New research refines the current knowledge on student interest in educational settings and the social contexts of interest, with insights into why interest levels change during engagement and in the long run. From these findings, contributors address ways to foster and nurture interest in the therapy room and the classroom, for optimum benefits throughout life.

Among the topics covered:

·         Embedding interest within self-regulation.

·         Knowledge acquisition at the intersection of situational and individual interest.

·         The role of interest in motivation and engagement.

·         The two faces of passion.

·         Creative geniuses, polymaths, child prodigies, and autistic savants.

·         The promotion and development of interest.

A robust guide to a fascinating area of study, The Science of Interest synthesizes the field’s current knowledge of interest and indicates future directions. Its chapters contribute depth and rigor to this growing area of research, and will enhance the work of researchers in education, psychologists, social scientists, and public policymakers. 


educational psychology engagement and curiosity in psychology goal attainment knowledge acquisition internality and intensity of interest task engagement obsession and passion psychology of motivation savant self-regulation situational interest Carol Sansone Carol Dweck child prodigies the promotion and development of interest social processes of interest

Editors and affiliations

  • Paul A. O'Keefe
    • 1
  • Judith M. Harackiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale-NUS CollegeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

About the editors

Paul A.  O Keefe is a social psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale-NUS College. He conducts research pertaining to goal pursuit with particular attention to motivational factors, such as interest, implicit self-theories, and self-regulation. He was a Spencer Fellow at Duke University and recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellowship (funded by NIH), a position he held at Stanford University. 

Judith Harackiewicz is Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin­ Madison. She received a Spencer Fellowship from the National Academy of Education, and two major teaching awards: the University of Wisconsin Madison Chancellor s Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award for the University of Wisconsin System. She is a former editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Bibliographic information