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Interest, Prior Knowledge, and Learning

Sigmund Tobias
Review of Educational Research
Vol. 64, No. 1 (Spring, 1994), pp. 37-54
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1170745
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Interest, Prior Knowledge, and Learning
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Abstract

This article discusses the importance of studying interest and reviews research on the association between interest and prior knowledge. It is concluded that there is a substantial linear relationship between interest and prior knowledge. Previous findings of minimal interest-knowledge relationships were attributed to one, or more, of the following: (a) Knowledge and interest measures reflecting different content, (b) questionable reliability or validity of the measures, (c) ideographic assignment to high/low groups introducing error into group assignments, (d) use of materials not suited to the sample, and (e) possible confounding of interest and knowledge measures. Research suggests that working on interesting, compared to neutral, materials may engage deeper cognitive processing, arouse a wider, more emotional, and more personal associative network, and employ more imagery. A model of the interest-knowledge relationship is updated, and suggestions for further research are made. Finally, the similarity between interest and curiosity is explored, and the advantages of research on these constructs are discussed.

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