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Publication Detail
Situational interest: using higher order rewards to create intrinsic motivation in the classroom
There is a well-established association between motivation and learning but the processes involved are under-researched. In this series of three experimental studies we look at one aspect of how motivation is initially elicited, as captured by interest theory. According to interest theory, environmental triggers can elicit situational interest in a stimulus or activity that heightens attention, effort and perseverance as well as task enjoyment, essentially creating an intrinsically motivated interaction. Three experimental behavioural studies have operationalised three triggers with 9-10 year olds in a reading activity and found significant effects on reading comprehension performance (medium to large effect sizes) and reported task enjoyment (small effect sizes). Whilst intrinsic motivation can lead to consolidated learning and sustained academic achievement, extrinsic motivation can support learning in the short term but undermines established intrinsic motivation, findings supported by neuroscientific studies. This talk explores this research and looks at the possible implications of situational interest operating as a higher order reward.
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