This article reports on the complexities of triggering and maintaining interest, a process that is initiated when something catches the attention of a learner. Triggering interest (the initiation of the psychological state of interest) can occur in both earlier and later phases of interest development. However, in this study we focus on this process in earlier phases of interest development. Findings from a study of the activity of eight, Black, inner-city, middle school-age participants in an out-of-school biology workshop are described. We address the identification and generalizability of potential triggers for interest across activities and explore the relationship between triggers for interest and learner characteristics. Taken together, findings from the study suggest that learners do not perceive and respond identically to potential triggers for interest; and that the triggering process is nuanced by particular activity, and the readiness of the learner to respond.
Renninger, K. A., Bachrach, J. E., & Hidi, S. E. (2018). Triggering and maintaining interest in early phases of interest development. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lcsi.2018.11.007