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Policy Insights From The Behavioral And Brain Sciences


Individuals do not all come to tasks, activities, or assignments with the same readiness to engage. Differences in the ability to focus, comprehend, or problem-solve can lead to inequalities of outcome and make learners less likely to realize their potential. Given that interest development supports persistence, conscientiousness, and the ability to work with negative feedback, educators and policymakers could help to increase educational opportunity for all by promoting the development of interest. Interest is a cognitive and motivational variable that describes (a) engagement, or participation, with some content (such as physics, writing, or baseball) and also (b) the motivation to continue to seek opportunities to engage with that content: seeking information, posing questions, and tackling challenge. Interest works because the information search it creates is rewarding. The development of interest heightens understanding and sustains engaged work. It also positively influences outcomes such as performance and continued enrollment. Even the development of a little interest can make a difference. Educators and policymakers can enhance educational opportunities by promoting interest development. Methods are described.


interest, engagement, motivation, educational policy, reward, learning, teaching

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


This work is freely available under a Creative Commons license.

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