The Resource Replenishment Function of Interest

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Interest is a positive emotion associated with increased approach motivation, effort, attention, and persistence. Although experiencing interest promotes behaviors that demand cognitive resources, interest is as a coping resource in frustrating learning situations and is central to self-regulation and sustained motivation. Positive affect, in general, tends to replenish resources, but based on the functions of interest and what interest promotes we suggest that interest, in particular, promotes greater resource replenishment. Across three experiments, experiencing interest during activity engagement (Studies 1 & 2), even when interest is activated via priming (Study 3), caused greater effort and persistence in subsequent tasks than did positive affect. This effect occurred only when participants’ psychological resources were previously depleted (Study 1). Paradoxically, engaging an interesting task replenished resources (vs. positive and neutral tasks) even though the interesting task was more complex and required more effort.

Additional Information

Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2(6), 592-599
Language: English
Date: 2011
interest, resource depletion, motivation, emotion, psychology, positive affect, self-regulation

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