The role of interest in optimizing performance and self-regulation
Paul A. O’Keefe & Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia (2014)
- Task performance was optimized when affect- and value-related interest were high.
- Depletion was also minimized when affect- and value-related interest were high.
- Interest supports effective and efficient engagement without depleting resources.
- Results underscore the importance of interest as a motivational variable.
Abstract: The present research tested the hypothesis that interest functions, in part, to optimize performance while also optimizing self-regulatory resources, and that this occurs when both affect- and value-related interest are high. Study 1 provided evidence that both affect- and value-related interest support task performance such that undergraduates (N = 153) in the high task importance condition, who also reported high affect-related interest, demonstrated relatively superior performance on a word-forming problem set. Study 2 (N = 88) provided further evidence that affect- and value-related interest were associated with superior anagram performance. A subsequent task demonstrated that self-regulatory resources were optimized for participants with both high affect- and value-related interest. The present studies provide evidence that high levels of performance can be achieved while maintaining optimal self-regulatory resources, depending on affect-related interest and the task’s personal significance. Implications for goal pursuit and self-regulation are discussed.