A second factor influencing individual motivation is curiosity. {This is an individual factor because a person's curiosity can be aroused without involving other people.} Curiosity is stimulated when something in the physical environment attracts our attention or when there is an optimal level of discrepancy between present knowledge or skills and what these could be if the learner engaged in some activity. Novelty and interest are good synonyms for the motivational use of curiosity.

There are two types of curiosity that can stimulate intrinsic motivation:



The concept of optimal discrepancy suggests that curiosity is strongest when new information does not match what we currently know but is not so different as to appear to be completely strange, irrelevant, or impossible to attain. Learners are motivated most strongly by curiosity when learning tasks present them with knowledge or problems at an optimal level of discrepancy.


Review Quiz 3

Which of the following teachers is (are) appealing to curiosity in order to enhance motivation?

  1. _____ Miss Maloney does card tricks to encourage her students to pay attention to her mathematics lesson.

  2. _____ Mr. Paxton tries to present the subject matter in such a way that students can easily understand it but will still come to new insights.

  3. _____ Mrs. Duckworth gives frequent quizzes, so that her students can be constantly aware of what they still need to learn in order to meet the course objectives.

  4. _____ Miss Hampton breaks into song during her poetry lesson in order to catch and hold the attention of her students.



Online Links:
Motivating Through Curiosity


Black Like Us by Grant Pick.

This article from the May 2000 issue of Teacher Magazine describes how some top-notch students worked to bridge the gap between whites and minorities in their school.




Click on a topic from the following list, or use your web browser to go where you want to go:

Intrinsic Motivation
Curiosity <<You are here>>
Interpersonal Motivation
Summary of Intrinsic Motivation
Motivating Through Curriculum
Reinforcement and Punishment
Affective Aspects of Motivation
Physiological Aspects of Motivation
Cognitive Aspects of Motivation
Needs and Motivation
Attribution Theory
Development and Motivation
Motivation as a Personality Characteristic
Teacher Expectancy
Social Aspects of Motivation: Classroom Structure
What Teachers Can Do About Motivation
What Parents Can Do About Motivation
What Students Can Do About Motivation
Chapter Summary
Annotated Bibliography
Answers to Quizzes