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Defining and measuring the love of learning

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Defining and measuring the love of learning
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McFarlane, Terry Ann
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English
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272 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Learning and scholarship -- Testing ( lcsh )
Motivation in education -- Testing ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 247-272).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Terry Ann McFarlane.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Full Text
DEFINING AND MEASURING THE LOVE OF LEARNING
by
Terry Ann McFarlane
B.A., California State University at Stanislaus, 1972
M.A., St. Marys University, 1981
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation


2003 by Terry Ann McFarlane
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Terry Ann McFarlane
has been approved
by
Ellen A. Stevens
William Goodwin
Michael Marlow
Candan Duran-Ayd:


Date


McFarlane, Terry Ann (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Defining and Measuring the Love of Learning
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Ellen A. Stevens
ABSTRACT
The purposes of this study are to operationally define the construct, love of learning,
to develop an instrument to measure the construct, and to estimate the measures
reliability and validity. To define and measure the love of learning construct, a
comprehensive review of the research most closely related to love of learning was
undertaken and a love of learning instrument was developed. A 72-item pool for the
instrument was generated following a framework of operational definitions and a
table of specifications. Items were selected for the love of learning instrument using a
five-person modified Delphi method. Interrater agreement and reliability were
estimated for the item pool and instrument by three methods. Two of the three
showed good agreement and reliability, but the repeated measures ANOVAs showed
that most of the variance could be attributed to the rater or items by rater interaction
(error term). The 25-item instrument was administered to students attending eleven
institutions of higher education. Demographic mean differences were compared. Item
consistency reliability was estimated at .92. Correlation analyses among the
IV


subconstructs and exploratory factor analysis were conducted. Validity was examined
using correlational anlayses and a hybrid multitrait-multimethod matrix. Generally,
the literature review, results of the survey administration, and analysis of the
measurements psychometric properties suggest that the love of learning as a
theoretical construct exists and varies individually among young adults. Although
several problems emerged and the study had several methodological weaknesses,
most evidence supports the argument that the instrument measures the love of
learning construct.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publicati
Signed_____
Ellen A. Stevens


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
To Dr. Ellen A. Stevens, a very great friend and advisor, I wish to express my
sincere gratitude and appreciation for her vision, wisdom, and guidance throughout
my years in the doctoral program and especially for her encouragement, unfailing
support, and deep commitment during the dissertation process. My gratitude and
appreciation are given to Dr. Laura Goodwin as well, whose wonderful
encouragement, insights, and expertise were especially empowering to me in the
measurement and analyses phases of the dissertation. I also wish to thank Drs.
William Goodwin, Michael Marlow, and Candan Duran-Aydintug for their advice
regarding this study.
I also wish to thank the members of my doctoral laboratory: Robert Davis,
Noel LeJeun, Kim Peterson, Ellen Stevens, and Heidi Strang for serving as experts
during the instrument development phase of the study, and to other members of the
doctoral laboratory for their support and feedback to me during the process. My
thanks also go to my running friends for supporting as well as distracting me during
this dissertation process. Last but not least, I would like to thank my coach, Laurie
Weiss, who having gone through this process at about the same time in her life and
with her experience in writing books, was able to give me special help and guidance
to encourage my writing.


I dedicate this dissertation to the members of my family because of the
various roles they play in my life. I dedicate this dissertation to my mom and dad for
their unconditional love and support. Mom thought I was a genius and dad told me I
could do anything I wanted to do. I dedicate this dissertation to my two beautiful
daughters, who encouraged me and had great faith in me. I suppose they always have!
And finally, I dedicate this dissertation to my spouse, Scott, who exercised patience
beyond belief and provided stability and occasional computer support while I was
engaged in this process.


CONTENTS
Figures.....................................................xiv
Tables .....................................................xv
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION...............................................1
Purposes of the Study...................................1
The General Problem.....................................1
Background of the Problem...............................3
Conceptual Framework...................................11
Research Questions.....................................14
Methodology............................................16
Structure of the Dissertation..........................17
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..................................18
Historical Perspective.................................19
Ancient Philosophers.............................19
Early Educators and Psychologists................24
Contemporary Research on Constructs
Related to Love of Learning............................27
vm


Curiosity
27
First Wave Issues.............................28
Second Wave Measurement.......................34
Summary.......................................40
Intrinsic Motivation................................41
Definitions...................................42
Taxonomies....................................45
Research......................................49
Measures of Intrinsic Motivation..............55
Flow................................................59
Definition....................................60
Optimal Arousal...............................63
Research......................................65
Interest............................................67
Historical Background.........................68
Theoretical Definitions.......................69
Research......................................73
Relationship of Interest to Other
Love of Learning Constructs...................77
Summary.......................................80
IX


Self-concept in Terms of Competence,
Growth and Complexity, and Meaning and Purpose.....81
Self-concept.................................82
Self-concept in Terms of Competence..........84
Self-concept in Terms of Growth and
Complexity...................................92
Self-concept in Terms of Meaning and Purpose... 95
Summary.....................................101
3. METHODOLOGY..................................................104
Introduction.............................................104
Design...................................................106
Subjects and Sampling Procedures.........................107
Variables................................................108
Love of Learning Variables.........................108
Epistemic Curiosity.........................109
Intrinsic Motivation........................109
Interest....................................110
Flow........................................110
Self-concept in Terms of Competence.........Ill
Self-concept in Terms of Growth and
Complexity..................................Ill
x


Self-concept in Terms of Meaning and Purpose. 112
Positive Model Variables.............................112
Trait Curiosity...............................113
Intrinsic Enjoyment...........................113
Negative Model Variables.............................114
Anxiety.......................................115
Boredom.......................................115
Borderline Variable..................................116
Self-actualization............................116
Contrary Variable....................................117
Flexibility...................................117
Instrumentation..............................................118
Data Collection Procedures...................................121
Phase 1. Instrument Development......................121
Phase 2. Reliability and Instrument Structure Study..122
Phase 3. Construct Validity..........................122
Data Analysis Procedures.....................................122
Phase 1. Instrument Development......................122
Phase 2. Reliability and Instrument Structure Study..123
Phase 3. Construct Validity..........................123
xi


Limitations
124
Summary.....................................................126
4. RESULTS...................................................... 128
Introduction................................................128
Phase 1. Instrument Development.............................129
Developing a Framework...............................130
Table of Specifications..............................134
Generating an Item Pool..............................136
Selecting Items for the Survey.......................136
Interrater Reliability...............................143
Phase 2. Reliability and Instrument Structure Study.........149
Data Collection......................................149
Participants.........................................150
Results..............................................151
Means and Mean Comparisons....................151
Reliability and Item Analyses.................155
Factor Analysis...............................157
Phase 3. Construct Validity.................................165
Data Collection......................................166
Participants.........................................167
Xll


Results
169
Means, Standard Deviations, and Reliabilities.... 169
Correlational Analyses.......................169
Multitrait-multimethod.......................172
Summary...................................................175
5. DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS...................................178
Summaries and Interpretations.............................179
Question 1........................................ 179
Question 2..........................................185
Question 3..........................................187
Question 4..........................................191
Question 5..........................................195
Limitations...............................................198
Theoretical Foundations, Implications for Practice, and
Further Research..........................................202
APPENDIX
A. Premises and Principles of the Learner-centered Model........210
B. Definitions of Curiosity, Intrinsic Motivation, and Interest.217
C. Psychometric Information about Various Curiosity Instruments.223
D. Contact and Consent Letters..................................228
xm


E. Love of Learning Items and Sources...............233
BIBLIOGRAPHY.............................................247
xiv


FIGURES
Figure
1.1 Conceptual framework for the love of learning.......................13
4.1 Scree Plot ........................................................158
5.1 Revised conceptual framework for the love of learning..............184
xv


TABLES
Table
4.1 Number and percentage of items in
initial pool and survey for each subconstruct.........................141
4.2 Love of learning survey items.........................................142
4.3 Interrater agreement by round for the 72-item pool....................145
4.4 Repeated measures ANOVAs for the 72-item pool.........................146
4.5 Interrater agreement by round for the 25-item survey..................147
4.6 Repeated measures ANOVAs by round for the 25-item survey..............148
4.7 Education level.......................................................151
4.8 Mean comparisons for demographic variables............................152
4.9 Tukey HSD multiple comparison post hoc test for
educational level.....................................................153
4.10 Tukey HSD multiple comparison post hoc test for
marital status.......................................................154
4.11 Reliability analysis Scale (alpha): Item-total statistics..........156
4.12 Tests for violations of the sphericity assumptions...................159
4.13 Factors and loadings comprising the
love of learning instrument..........................................161
4.14 Correlations among love of learning construct and
subconstructs .......................................................164
xvi


4.15 Education level .........................................................169
4.16 Means, standard deviations, and reliabilities of
validation scales ........................................................170
4.17 Correlations among the scales and instruments used
for construct validation..................................................171
4.18 Variation of the multitrait-multimethod matrix...........................173
xvii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Purposes of the Study
The purposes of this study are to operationally define the construct, love of
learning, to develop an instrument to measure the construct, and to estimate the
measures reliability and validity. This study is significant because it will add to the
measurement (psychometric) literature. The practical significance follows from the
theoretical significance. In knowing what a love of learning is, parents and educators
may develop ways to nurture it so that it becomes a way of life.
The General Problem
Bronzaft (1996) identified love of learning as the critical determinant in
distinguishing successful academically high achievers (AHAs) from others. She
interviewed 529 AHAs about their childhood experiences in the home and at school.
Although she identified several potential properties and processes related to love of
learning, she did not provide a specific definition. She did, however, draw a direct
connection between achievement and love of learning.
1


Berliner and Biddle (1995) drew a somewhat different connection. Their law
of student achievement specifically states that regardless of what anyone claims
about students and school characteristics, opportunity to learn is the single most
powerful predictor of student achievement (p. 55). Though one may decry the lack
of equitable opportunities in education, would anyone suggest that in any instance
there are absolutely no opportunities to learn? Probably not. Therefore, while
equitable opportunities to learn are important, creating and using existing
opportunities to learn are as important. According to Berliner and Biddle (1995),
more students are graduating from high school; more students are attending college;
and more students are earning college degrees than in previous decades. Apparently,
teachers and students are sufficiently creating and using educational opportunities. Or
are they?
The evidence that students in America are attaining higher levels of education
may not tell the whole story. Experts point out that children enter schools eager to
learn but lose that eagerness too soon. Wlodkowski and Jaynes (1990) suggested that
this decline is to be expected for several reasons: (a) learning in school occurs in
groups with formalized curriculum and grading system, (b) advanced learning
becomes increasingly complex, and (c) learning is hampered by many distractions in
the world. Massimini and Carli (1988) studied forty-seven 16- to 19-year-olds and
concluded that they derived enjoyment more from art, hobbies, and socializing than
2


academic pursuits. Fredricks, Alfeld-Liro, and Eccles (1999) studied self-reported
interest in sports, music, and math across the grades. They concluded that the passion
to learn is rare and that passion more frequently characterized non-academic
achievement activities. Indeed, students may be learning more and enjoying it less.
What may be needed more than increased and equitable opportunities to learn
is nurturing the eagerness to learn apparent in young students such that a disposition
towards a love of learning unfolds in young adults. Such a disposition would give
every student something more than economic self-sufficiency, essential as it is. Love
of learning would give students the key to self-fulfillment for the rest of their lives.
First, however, it is essential to define what is meant by a love of learning. When love
of learning is referenced, it is rarely defined.
Background of the Problem
The assertion that little research has been conducted specifically about the
love of learning needs to be qualified. For one, Bronzafts (1996) study of
academically high achievers (AFlAs) inferred a great deal about the love of learning.
Second, several measurement studies revealed a factor dubbed love of learning or
academic interest. Usually, this was in the context of validating a measure for some
kind of motivation, study attitudes, academic self-concept, etc. Third, much research
has been conducted in several conceptually related areas. For example, curiosity,
3


intrinsic motivation, flow, interest, and self-concept in terms of competence, growth,
and purpose have been studied extensively and may partially comprise what love of
learning is.
Bronzaft (1996) interviewed many AHAs. Her interviews revealed the
importance of home and family in the development of a love of learning. She
concluded that the love of learning lies in normal childhood curiosity. She suggested
that the following conditions were instrumental in fostering a love of learning: (a)
emphasis on reading, (b) parents who Value learning, (c) love of learning as a family
tradition, (d) teachers who foster love of learning by making a student feel proud and
worthwhile, (e) pleasure that comes from doing ones best rather than winning, and
(f) love of learning as a way of life. Though she clarified the conditions for fostering
a love of learning, Bronzaft never really defined what she meant by love of learning.
In attempting to measure such constructs as academic self-concept, study
attitudes and methods, and self-direction, researchers have repeatedly uncovered a
factor for which love of learning is an apt label. For example, Guglielmino (1977)
developed an instrument to assess self-directed learning readiness (SDLR) as part of
her doctoral dissertation. Using factor analysis, she identified eight factors and
labeled one of them love of learning.
In exploring school-related factors of self-concept, Michael, Smith, and
Michael (1984) developed a measure entitled Dimensions of Self-Concept (DOSC).
4


They uncovered five factors and labeled one of the factors Academic interest and
satisfaction. They defined this factor as the
sheer pleasure gained by students in studying and in doing academic
work, much like that experienced by the dedicated scholar who gains
great satisfaction in working in the library, in writing papers, and in
reading the great books an intrinsic motivation involving love of
learning for its own sake (p. 2).
Two years later, Michael, Denny, Ireland-Galman, and Michael (1986) conducted a
factorial validity study of the Studies Attitudes and Methods Scale (SAMS). They
labeled one of the six factors, Academic interests love of learning. The authors
defined this factor very similarly to the academic interest and satisfaction factor of the
DOSC. Academic interests love of learning is intrinsic motivation involving
learning for its own sake. Thus, there is some psychometric evidence for the existence
of a love of learning construct. Although factor analysis alone is insufficient, these
studies provide the beginning of a conceptual definition.
One infers by studying the descriptions of the factors described above and
examining the nature of the items comprising those factors, that love of learning
probably consists of curiosity, intrinsic motivation, a positive affective state (flow),
self-concept, and interest. Indeed, research literature on these constructs is replete
with implications that they are part of and relate to a joy of, love of, enthusiasm for,
eagerness for, and desire for learning.
5


Researchers of curiosity have reached a tentative consensus that curiosity is
composed of two factors. Several studies have demonstrated a two-factor solution
(Ainley, 1987; Langevin, 1971; Naylor, 1981; Spielberger & Starr, 1994; Starr,
1992). Usually, the two-factors solution forms an epistemic curiosity or information-
seeking component and a diversive curiosity or experience-seeking component
(Spielberger & Starr, 1994; Starr, 1992). Interestingly, Berlyne (1950) originally
conceived of curiosity as comprised of two such factors. The former factor is more
part of the love of learning because learning more often refers to knowledge
acquisition in academic subjects rather than sensational and novel experiences in life.
Some researchers have suggested that curiosity and intrinsic motivation are
the same thing (Starr, 1992; Lepper & Malone, 1987). They may draw this conclusion
in part because eventually Berlyne integrated many of his original ideas regarding
curiosity (Berlyne, 1950) with intrinsic motivation (Berlyne, 1971). Although the
research regarding intrinsic motivation and curiosity is curiously distinct, the two
constructs seem bound to the same dimension of human behavior (Harlow, 1953).
This may be because early theorists postulated that either construct was activated by
instinct or a drive mechanism and approached research from a behavioristic or
psychoanalytic tradition. Recently, however, researchers have taken a more
organismic approach (Deci, 1975).
Intrinsic motivation has been defined as human motives stimulated by the
6


inherent nature of the activity or its natural consequences (Lahey, 1998, p. 341).
Lepper and Malone (1987) greatly elaborated this definition by including in their
definition of intrinsic motivation the concepts of challenge, competence, effectance,
mastery orientation, curiosity, incongruity, discrepancy, control and self-
determination. Additionally, Malone and Lepper (1987) characterized intrinsic
motivation as fun, interesting, captivating, and enjoyable. Students usually experience
intrinsic motivation as fun. Lepper and Cordova (1992) found that students learned
more, retained more, and generalized (transferred) more of what they learned from
the educational activities they had rated as fun or had chosen to do. In that intrinsic
motivation is fun and involves all of the above mentioned components implies that
the love of learning inherently includes intrinsic motivation.
A key element in the definition of intrinsic motivation is that it includes an
affective component. Csikszentmihalyi (1988a) identified this affective component as
flow. He said scholars have found the concept of flow theoretically useful and that
flow has become a technical term in the field of intrinsic motivation (p. 3). He
contrasted more recent approaches to the study of intrinsic motivation from flow
research by pointing out that much intrinsic motivation research focuses on behavior.
Flow is subjective experience. It occurs when there is a balance of skills and the
challenge at hand (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). This implies an optimal amount of
arousal. Scitovsky (1992) showed how human beings strive to maintain an optimal
7


amount of arousal by engaging in behaviors to reduce arousal when it is too high
(anxiety) and stimulate arousal when it is too low (boredom). People need change or
novelty to function, but not too much or too little. Thus, people need to maintain an
optimal amount of arousal. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) reported on many studies
comparing happiness, motivation, concentration, and flow with working, studying,
maintenance activities and leisure. Flow happens with work, driving, active sports
and hobbies, and socializing. Research on flow in learning has been descriptive and
limited. Several studies documented that, although flow occurs during learning, it is
the exception rather than the rule (Fredricks, Alfeld-Liro, & Eccles, 1999; Massimini
& Carli, 1988; Mayers, 1978; Nakamura, 1988). Csikszentmihalyi (1982) posited that
the flow experience may mean that intrinsically-motivated and self-rewarding
learning facilitates peak experiences (Maslow, 1968/1982). Csikszentmihalyi (1997)
argued that the happiness that follows flow is of our own making and leads to
increasing complexity and growth in consciousness.
Changes in complexity and growth in consciousness imply the involvement of
self. Indeed, several researchers have argued that personal causation (DeCharms,
1976), autonomy (Allport, 1955), competence (White, 1959), sense of mastery (Deci,
1980), and finding meaning and purpose (Suchman, 1971) are needs which ignite
intrinsic motivation. Thus far, research has shown relationships between these kinds
of needs and intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985b). A love of learning
disposition involves the agency of self, or rather the self as agency in that a
8


disposition expresses itself through personality. The love of learning is about the self
as more or less in charge of his or her life (Deci, 1995), as more or less competent in
various learning experiences (Deci, 1980), as growing and increasing in complexity
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1997) to a lesser or greater extent, and as having or creating a
meaningful or purposeful life (Suchman, 1971). The self becomes curiously engaged,
intrinsically motivated, and in effect, interested in either learning for its own sake or
in something to learn about.
Learning and the development Of the love of learning stems from ones
discovered interests. Research suggests that a general interest in learning may be an
important component in the love of learning (Bergin, 1999; Krapp, Hidi, &
Renninger, 1992). Most researchers acknowledge that interest originates from some
form of person-environment interaction. However, some researchers focus on the
former and others on the latter. The former is called individual interest (dispositional
interest or interest as a psychological state) whereas the latter is called situational
interest. Individual interest may be conceived of as a disposition or as a personality
trait. Dispositional interests are usually defined as relatively enduring preferences for
certain topics, subject areas, or activities (Renninger, 1990; Schiefele, 1990;
Scheifele, 1992). Recently, interest is conceived of as part of ones personality in
terms of orientations, valuations, and awareness of possibilities. Individual interests
have personal significance and thus are integrated into a value system and even
9


components of ones self-concept (Prenzel, 1992). Besides the positive feelings
associated with interest, or the cognitive value the person ascribes to the object of
interest, interest also has an intrinsic character. In other words learning about
something is undertaken for its own sake rather than an external reason. (Scheifele,
1992). The other side of the coin, situational interest, is identified by the
characteristics of a learning environment. Situational interest is considered an
emotional state aroused by situational stimuli or as an actualized state generated by
certain conditions and/or objects in the environment (Anderson, Shirey, Wilson, &
Fielding, 1987; Hidi, 1990; Krapp, Hidi, Renninger, 1992). Recently, researchers
have begun to explore the person-environmental interaction of individual and
situational interest. In the meantime, whereas situational interest may eventually be
considered an antecedent to the love of learning, it is dispositional, individual interest
that is a likely component of the love of learning.
Without specifically defining love of learning, several authors have suggested
how the love of learning may be nurtured. Factor analysis studies have uncovered a
factor best labeled as love of learning (Caracosta & Michael, 1986; Guglielmino,
1977; Michael, Denny, Ireland-Galman, & Michael, 1986). Research has been
conducted on what may be related concepts, such as curiosity, intrinsic motivation,
flow, and interest. Research regarding self as autonomous, competent, growing, and
purposeful provides guideposts to the conceptualization of the love of learning.
10


Defining love of learning involves examining how these diverse areas of investigation
converge. Bringing together the theoretical perspectives of several different research
areas to develop a definition for love of learning represents a new area of research.
With a definition of love of learning and a means to measure it, educators and
researchers may then develop better ways to nurture it.
Conceptual Framework
The theoretical framework is based on an integration of several motivation
theories and theories of learning. Love of learning seems to encompass a wide range
of concepts. Love of learning is like curiosity. Many have called curiosity an innate
drive to explore the unfamiliar. The unfamiliar may be cognitive, as in a problem to
be solved, or environmental, as in a novel or uncertain situation. Love of learning is
like intrinsic motivation in that a person enjoys learning for its own sake. One can
experience a positive feeling when intrinsically motivated and occasionally this
positive affect becomes flow and joy during learning. Love of learning may be
composed of a generalized interest in learning. Lastly, love of learning involves the
agency of self. The self experiences self-determination through a sense of autonomy,
competence, and mastery in learning. The self experiences growth and increasing
complexity in fulfilling its potential. Finally, the self seeks to find meaning and
purpose through learning. The theoretical framework in this study will include a
11


weaving together of the theories about curiosity, intrinsic motivation, flow, interest,
and the self-concept related to perceived autonomy, effectance, mastery, growth,
improvement, increasing complexity, meaning, and purpose.
Let us suppose for the purposes of this study that the love of learning exists as
a unifying disposition as part of a persons personality, or more specifically, self-
concept. Let us also suppose that this disposition is made up of a self-determining
desire for mastery or competence, to grow, improve, and increase in complexity thus
fulfilling ones potential, and to find purpose or to make meaning of ones life or
surroundings. Further, let us suppose that this disposition is composed of curiosity
that manifests as intrinsic motivation in selected areas of interest, tasks, or other such
undertakings, and that usually the affective experience is positive and sometimes flow
is achieved. From these suppositions a theoretical framework emerges.
The theoretical framework consists of three components. The three are
inherently interrelated but each provides a unique perspective. The first component is
the facet of the self-concept related to the desire to be self-determining, to achieve
mastery, to experience a sense of competence, to grow in complexity, and to find
purpose and/or create meaning. Deci (1995) referred to this facet as personal
autonomy. Knowles (1970) identified this aspect as self-direction. Maslow (1971)
referred to this facet as self-esteem and self-actualization. The second component is
curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and interest. These constructs are often conceived of as
12


the same thing (Berlyne, 1971; Starr, 1992) or as one subsuming the others (Lepper &
Malone, 1987). Curiosity is considered an inborn tendency (Wlodkowski & Jaynes,
1990) and intrinsic motivation is curiosity applied to a specific activity. Interest is
quite likely the selective persistence of curiosity (Prenzel, 1992) and preference to
engage in a domain of activities including learning. The third component is the
subjective and affective experience of intrinsic motivation, or flow. Figure 1.1
illustrates the combining of research areas into three categories and the
interrelationships among them.
Figure 1.1 Conceptual framework for love of learning
13


This framework provides the basis for defining love of learning and
developing an instrument to measure it. This framework aligns with Premise 5 and
five of the principles of the learner-centered psychological principles developed for
the American Psychological Association by the Presidential Task Force on
Psychology in Education (Lambert & McCombs, 1998). The premises and principles
are provided in Appendix A. However, in order to generate items to assess these
overlapping constructs, each construct needs to operationally defined. Operationally
defining each construct provides the dimension necessary for developing an adequate
measure for the love of learning construct.
Research Questions
The research questions of this study are:
1. What subconstructs comprise the overall construct of love of learning within the
young adult (18 to 25 years) age group?
2. What are the relationships among the subconstructs of the love of learning
construct within the young adult (18 to 25 years) age group?
3. What are the relationships between the love of learning construct and constructs
that likely should have strong correlations with the love of learning construct within
the young adult (18 to 25 years) age group?
14


Specifically, for positive model validity (Krathwohl, 1993), what is the
convergent relationship (Campbell & Fiske, 1959) between scores on the love of
learning measure and scores on a curiosity measure? And, what is the convergent
relationship (Campbell & Fiske, 1959) between scores on the love of learning and
scores on an intrinsic enjoyment measure?
Specifically, for negative model validity (Krathwohl, 1993), what is the
discriminant relationship (Campbell & Fiske, 1959) between scores on the love of
learning measure and scores on an anxiety measure? Also, what is the discriminant
relationship (Campbell & Fiske, 1959) between scores on the love of learning
measure and scores on a boredom measure?
4. What is the relationship between the love of learning construct and a construct that
likely should have an intermediate-size correlation with the love of learning construct
within the young adult (18 to 25 years) age group?
Specifically, for borderline validity (Krathwohl, 1993), what is the
relationship between scores on the love of learning measure and scores on a self-
actualization measure?
5. What is the relationship between the love of learning construct and a construct that
likely should have low or no correlation with the love of learning construct within the
young adult (18 to 25 years) age group?
15


Specifically, for contrary validity (Krathwohl, 1993), what is the relationship
between scores on the love of learning measure and scores on a flexible thinking
measure?
Methodology
To define love of learning required a synthesis of the literature from a number
of areas. From this synthesis operational definitions for each subconstruct were
developed. Once the subconstructs had been operationally defined, an item pool for
each subconstruct was generated and a self-report instrument to assess love of
learning was derived from the item pools. A group of experts in the areas of learning
and motivation assisted in the content validation of the instrument. The target age
group for the instrument is young adults from 18 to 25 years old. One sample was
used for the initial study of reliability and underlying relationships among
subconstructs of the instrument. A subset sample was used to examine further
evidence of construct validity. Students from several colleges were asked to
participate. Item analyses, internal consistency reliability, factor analyses, and
correlations among various subconstructs were conducted to examine the love of
learning construct and the reliability of the instrument. In addition to administering
the love of learning instrument, a battery of measures believed to correlate strongly,
weakly, or not at all with love of learning were administered to the subset sample.
Correlations with other measures were examined and a hybrid multitrait-multimethod
16


matrix was composed. In these ways, initial evidence regarding the validity of love of
learning was estimated and provided.
Structure of the Dissertation
This dissertation contains five chapters. The first chapter is an introduction to
the problem. Chapter two includes a review of the literature. Chapter three describes
the methodology. Chapter four provides the results of the study. Chapter five offers
discussion, implications, summary, and conclusion.
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CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
The idea of love of learning extends back through time. One could imagine,
for example, Solomon in 3500 B. C. standing before a great altar of the Lord asking
for wisdom above all (1 Kings 3:5-9, New International Version). Or perhaps one
could see Aristotle standing in the Lyceum at the Academy of Athens around 300 B.
C. and telling a group of students that wisdom is sweet and through wisdom,
happiness is gained. Although such examples suggest anecdotes that humankind has
valued the path of learning for thousands of years, we have not yet explored the
meaning of the love of learning. By extending our understanding in this direction, we
may be better able to influence children and students of all ages toward a love of
learning.
What background exists relevant to the love of learning? This chapter is
organized to present first a historical summary of philosophical thinking related to the
concept of love of learning. Second, in recent times, educators and psychologists have
investigated constructs closely related to the love of learning, such as curiosity,
intrinsic motivation, and interest. Research and findings in these areas that pertain to
18


the love of learning construct are summarized. Finally, implications are derived from
this review in terms of how the love of learning may be defined and measured.
Historical Perspective
Ancient Philosophers
Western European history provides a chronological stream of anecdotal
evidences that humankind has considered the love of learning and the achievement of
wisdom as pursuits of the highest purposes of life. The Biblical character of Solomon
desired wisdom more than 5000 years ago. Greek philosophers were preoccupied
with the desire to achieve excellence through continuous learning. Roman scholars
followed suit. And after a brief hiatus into the deep valuing of the love of God,
scientists, philosophers, and artists emerged during the Renaissance thirsting and
hungering for knowledge in a dramatic display of the love of learning. The following
summary captures some of that stream.
One of the earliest lovers of learning in western civilization was Solomon. He
pleased the Lord by asking for wisdom above all; he impressed the Queen of Sheba
with the extent of his understanding; and he taught his people of the value of wisdom
(1 Kings 3:5-9,1 Kings 10:6-8, Proverbs 19:8, Proverbs 22:17-18, Proverbs 24:14,
Ecclesiastes 7:12). Solomon declared that wisdom is pleasing to the soul (Proverbs
22:17-18).
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Much later the great Greek philosophers articulated the value of learning in
order to be happy. Sophocles (trans. 1998) ended his tragic play, Antigone, with the
chorus singing, The greatest part of happiness is wisdom (lines 1341-1342). Plato
(trans. 1989) lived in Athens during the Peloponnesian War, the destruction of the
Athenian empire, and the execution of Socrates. In a series of dialogs he reflected on
the teachings of Socrates. Repeatedly, he declared that the ultimate purpose of human
life is happiness and that happiness is achieved primarily through continuous
learning, or acquiring of wisdom. In Charmides, Plato demonstrated that a person will
be happy when he or she has knowledge (wisdom) (lines 174-176). In Euthydemus
Crito and Cleinias came to understand that happiness is experienced through the
acquisition of knowledge (line 282). In Symposium, Diotima described to Socrates
the search for true beauty, which ultimately leads to knowledge and bliss (lines 21-
212). In Meno Plato argued that wisdom generates happiness because through it
virtue is achieved (line 88c-d). In Apology, Plato showed how Socrates defended
himself to the Athenians as a seeker and lover of true wisdom and knowledge. In
Republic he indicated that the human souls calling is to seek wisdom, to hold to the
upward ways and pursue righteousness with wisdom always and ever (lines 61 le-
612c, 621b-d). Finally in Timaeus, he not only discerned two desires natural to
mankind, one for food and the other for knowledge (line 90a-c), but explicated that
the love of learning leads to happiness:
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But he who has been earnest in the love of knowledge and of true
wisdom, and has exercised his intellect more than any other part of
him, ..., will be singularly happy (line 90b-c).
Plato revered Socrates and characterized him as a philosopher and teacher who loved
to learn.
Plato also respected Aristotle, calling him the intellectual of the Academy at
Athens. Aristotle (trans. 1984/1952a), known as the Father of Logic, also connected
wisdom with happiness. However, for him, wisdom was derived from excellence in
functioning, self-sufficiency, and philosophic thought. In as much as philosophic
thought can be understood as learning, Aristotle concludes that learning is to be loved
for its own sake (Book X, 6-7, line 1177a). Aristotle (trans. 1984/1952b) also
declared that all men by nature desire to know (Book 1,1, line 980a). Greek
philosophers believed that happiness was achieved through continuous learning, and
that this learning process should be loved for its own sake.
For the most part the Roman scholars followed in the Greek philosophers
footsteps. They, too, were concerned with what was the highest good for man. Virgil
(trans. 1984/1952) portrayed the happy person as one who understands nature and,
therefore, controls his or her own fears (lines 490-493). Plutarch (trans. 1984/1952)
declared that those who do not use their inborn love of learning for bettering
themselves are not fulfilling their human purpose. Nicomachus (trans. 1984/1952)
stated that through learning, or the desire for wisdom, the ultimate goal of mankind,
21


which is happiness, is achieved (Chapter II, paragraph 3). Aurelius (trans. 1984/1952)
asked what could be more agreeable than learning because mankind depends on
learning for security and happiness (Book V, paragraph 9). Plotinus (trans.
1984/1952) agreed with Plato that wisdom begets happiness, but to have both requires
concentrating on what might be thought of as the highest good (Fourth Tractate,
paragraph 16). Roman scholars echoed Greek forerunners in their recognition of an
innate love for learning and their assumption that happiness is experienced through
learning.
Those threads were nearly lost when the rise of Christianity changed the
priorities of early philosophic thought in order to put the Divine Creator first. Virtue
and happiness were no longer valued in and of themselves, and so the role of learning
changed. St. Augustine (1984/400; 1984/413-426) thought little of learning but held
that happiness was obtained through knowing and revering God. Aquinas
(1984/1952) as well believed that happiness was experienced solely through
worshipful acknowledgement of the Heavenly Father. Neither believed that learning
fostered happiness. However, Dante (1984/1952) designed a synthesis for the
Christian religion and earlier philosophic thought by telling a personal story. Divine
Comedy told of enraptured learning by focusing on Infinite Goodness. His description
was not unlike Greek and Roman philosophy nor unlike early Christian faith.
While religion greatly influenced human thought in Western Europe,
commerce and governance remained influential as well. Acknowledgement of the
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love of learning is found in Chaucers (1984/1952) Canterbury Tales. Chaucer lived
in England and served Richard II and Henry IV. His travels to France and Italy during
the 100-year war with France contributed to his thinking. The Canterbury Tales
shows his ability to adopt multiple perspectives, and one of his most important voices
is that of the Clerk. Chaucer describes the clerk as one Whod turned to getting
knowledge, long ago... Pregnant of moral virtue was his speech; And gladly would he
learn and gladly teach (p. 164). The Clerk embodies the personality and voice of
people who loved to learn for the sake of learning.
As Western Europe emerged from the influence of religious dogma and
moved toward empirical reasoning and study, the disposition of the love of learning
was bom again. Controversial Hobbes exemplified one who loved learning during the
Renaissance. After his formal schooling, he avidly devoted himself to the study of
philosophy and mathematics. Although most of his published works represented
philosophical treatments of political problems and were source of controversy, in
Leviathan he created a classification scheme for passions, one of which is the desire
to know why, and how (p. 63). He identified this desire as curiosity and attributed it
solely to man.
Other Renaissance philosophers addressed the desire and pleasure of learning
as well. Hunt (1994) credited Locke as the first associationist because he argued that
we combine simple ideas to form complex ideas and that we learn by relating one
idea to another. Locke (1984/1952) also suggested that the increased complexity of
23


ideas by association provides pleasure. Hume (1738/1984) implied that curiosity is
innate and that the bringing of knowledge from obscurity to light (in other words,
learning) is enjoyable. In the Preface of his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant
(1781/1900) implied that reason (i.e. desire to know) is aroused by external stimuli:
Experience tells us what is, but not that it must be necessarily what it
is and not otherwise. It therefore never gives us any really general
truths; and our reason, which particularly anxious for this class of
knowledge, is aroused by it rather than satisfied (p. 2).
During the Renaissance, Europe was rediscovering the delights of learning.
This delight is reflected in several philosophers writings. Through these early
philosophers we find threads of thought that suggest a love of learning exists, that
curiosity is innate and aroused by external stimuli, and that learning is intrinsically
motivating, enjoyable in and of itself.
Early Educators and Psychologists
The arguments about human nature put forth by 18th century philosophers
became tested in practice by a number of 19th and 20th century educators and
psychologists. Educators frequently documented their observations that children
experienced joy in learning. For example, Pestalozzi (1915/1894) was concerned with
immediate perception. He found that by attending to the first beginnings for a long
time, students became aware of their own power to persist, succeed, and learn.
Through his attending Pestalozzi observed childrens joy of learning together and
24


teaching one another. As with Pestalozzi, Montessori (1964/1912) advocated for
education of the senses and also saw avid interest and great pleasure in learning
among children. Going beyond the immediate perceptions, Friedrich Froebel
(1974/1900) saw the joy children experience in their freshly experienced sense
impressions and in their newly acquired skills and believed that as children grow, so
does their natural desire to know:
Question upon question comes from the lips of the boy thirsting for
knowledge -- How? Why? When? What for? Of what? and every
somewhat satisfactory answer opens a new world to the boy ...
However, it is not alone the desire to try and use his power that
prompts the boy at this age to seek adventure ..; it is particularly the
peculiarity and need of his unfolding innermost life..., to comprehend
(the outer world) in its extent, its diversity, its integrity; it is the desire
to extend his scope step by step (p. 102-103).
However, he observed two kinds of desire for knowledge. He described the first as
the energetic, animating, uniting power and the second as the expansive,
productive, creative, modifying (extensive) power (p 133), noting that the second
increases with age as the first decreases.
Known as the founding father of American psychology (Hunt, 1994), William
James (James, 1890) was fascinated by learning, especially his own. He clearly stated
his opinion about the value of learning:
nothing is more congenial, from babyhood to the end of life, than to be
able to assimilate the new to the old, to meet each threatening violator
or burster of our well-known series of concepts, as it comes in, see
through its unwontedness, and ticket it off as an old friend in disguise.
This victorious assimilation of the new is in fact the type of all
intellectual pleasure. The lust for it is curiosity. The relations of the
25


new to the old, before the assimilation is performed, is wonder (pp.
524-525).
James believed that the love of learning is one of the best pleasures in life.
To summarize, from the Western European historical perspective, human love
of learning may be traced for thousands of years. The Biblical king Solomon sough
wisdom above all else. Greek philosophers held that achieving excellence through
continuous learning was the highest good. Roman philosophers concurred. Then,
emerging several hundred years later in Renaissance, a passion for learning was
demonstrated by scientists and reflected in the philosophical writings of that time.
Even educators through the late 19th century acknowledged in children as well as
themselves a joy or love of learning. In the early 20th century conceptual
underpinnings of the love of learning began to be studied more scientifically or
clinically, but not as love of learning per se. Rather, early scientists believed humans
had an instinct to learn. Usually, they referred to this instinct as curiosity.
26


Contemporary Research on Constructs
Related to Love of Learning
Curiosity
Curiosity is very likely a part of love of learning. Bronzaft (1996) drew this
connection when she stated that the source of love of learning lies in normal
childhood curiosity (p. 43). She believed that love of learning is rooted in curiosity
and that curiosity engenders learning. Implied in her belief is the notion that curiosity
is inborn. The belief that curiosity is innate has been a persistent thread in the
research literature for the past 50 years.
Voss and Kellers (1983) review traced the conceptualization of curiosity as
instinct, drive, intrinsically-motivated behavior, trait vs. state, and developmental
process. Spielberger & Starr (1994) focused particularly on Berlynes theory of
diversive and specific curiosity, research conducted to investigate the two constructs,
and how that research related to their theory of state-trait curiosity. Loewenstein
(1994), on the other hand, described curiosity research as occurring in two waves.
The first wave occurred in the 1960s and focused on three issues: what causes
curiosity, why people seek curious situations, and what are the situational
determinants. The second wave occurred in the 1970s and consisted mostly of
developing instruments for and measuring curiosity. Research on curiosity is vast and
rich, revealing fascinating results, overlapping and extending into other domains, and
fostering new fields for further study.
27


First Wave Issues
Before the first wave Loewenstein (1994) identified, early psychologists dealt
with the construct of curiosity. For example, James (1890) described two kinds of
curiosity. He emphasized the biological function of the first kind as an instinct-driven
behavior involved in approaching and exploring new objects. He stated that curiosity
and fear form a couple of antagonistic emotions liable to be awakened by the same
outward thing, and manifestly both useful to their possessor (p. 429). James defined
the second kind of curiosity scientific curiosity and metaphysical wonder with
which the practical instinctive root has probably nothing to do rather the
philosophic brain responds to an inconsistency or a gap in its knowledge (p. 430).
Jamess two kinds of curiosity coincide with Berlynes conceptualization and other
researchers studies of curiosity.
Another early psychologist who dealt with curiosity is McDougall.
McDougall (1912) defined instinct as an inherited or innate psycho-physical
disposition which determines its possessor to perceive, and to pay attention to, objects
of a certain class, to experience an emotional excitement of a particular quality upon
perceiving such an object and to act in regard to it in a particular manner, or, at least,
to experience an impulse to such action (p. 29). He identified curiosity as one of
eleven instincts and associated curiosity with the emotion of wonder. He thought that
curiosity was
28


the main source of intellectual energy and effort; to its impulse we
certainly owe most of the purely disinterested labours of the highest
types of intellect. It must be regarded as one of the principal roots of
both science and religion (p. 57).
McDougall believed there were individual differences in curiosity that increased or
decreased across the life span. McDougall did not distinguish two kinds of curiosity,
rather he saw intellectual curiosity as stemming from a curiosity instinct and
emotional wonder.
A third early psychologist who dealt with curiosity is Freud, who was actually
a psychiatrist with medical training. Freud did not specifically address curiosity.
Rather, he explained intellectual curiosity as stemming from scotophilia, sexual
curiosity, and sibling rivalry (Aronoff, 1962; Freud, 1959a, 1959b). Freud defined the
instinct for looking as scoptophilia, which causes a child to develop an intense
interest in sexual matters. Sexual curiosity starts when the child discovers and takes
pleasure in the sensations of his sexual organs. Pleasure becomes associated with
scoptophilia and develops at the age of three to five. He thought that scoptophilia is
why children investigate the world and become able to abstract knowledge. This
pattern of inquiry extended through adulthood. (Aronoff, 1962) Thus, Freud believed
that the thirst for knowledge seems to be inseparable from sexual life p. 153 (Freud,
1959b). On one hand Freud implied a link between curiosity and sexual interest. On
the other hand, he thought curiosity resulted from of a child fearing the loss of his/her
parents care and concern:
29


The childs desire for knowledge does not awaken spontaneously ... as
it would if prompted perhaps by an inborn need to seek for causes, but
arises under the goad of a self-seeking impulse which dominates him
when he is confronted by the arrival of a new child perchance at the
end of the second year. Those children whose own nursery at home
does not become divided up in this way are nevertheless able as the
result of their own observations to put themselves in the place of
others who are in this situation in other homes. The loss of the parents
care and concern ... has the effect of awakening the emotions of the
child and sharpening its thinking capacities (Freud, 1959a, p. 62).
Like Freud, Buhler (1928) had a background in biology. However, based on
his observations of children, Buhler offered an alternative explanation to Freuds
pleasure principle. He interpreted childrens play as providing pleasure through
movement and repetition, as well as skill acquisition and improvement. Thus,
children learned and improved from their play, while play provided joy. He saw no
connection to either sexual interest or fear of loss of parental love.
Piaget (1926), who was another biologist by training, believed that question-
asking behavior is biologically based. He thought that through question-asking a child
moved through various stages of intellectual development (i.e., sensori-motor, formal
operations). This account also lacks a connection to sexual interest or a fear of the
loss of love. It is rather part of a childs natural development.
Like McDougall, Freud believed intellectual curiosity grew out of instinct.
Freuds instinctual source as sexual, however, was quite different from McDougalls
instinctual source as wonder. Buhlers conception of instinctual curiosity is more
closely aligned with McDougalls and includes an element of self-improvement.
30


Piagets is very similar to both James and Berlynes ideas about curiosity, because
question-asking is epistemic and motivated by gaps in knowledge. James, like
Berlyne, thought intellectual curiosity was motivated by intellectual inconsistencies
rather than instinct. Of the five, Jamess and Piagets thinking most closely aligns
with Berlynes conceptualization and more recent research.
Berlyne is one of the most important early pioneers in the study of curiosity.
In 1950 he said, wonder, the source of the love of knowledge contains both
curiosity and cognitive surprise. It is aroused by anything extraordinary and difficult
to understand (p. 69). By 1954 Berlyne had identified two kinds of curiosity:
diversive and specific curiosity. Diversive curiosity was a stimulus-seeking behavior.
Specific curiosity included exploratory and epistemic curiosity (1954a). Defined as
the condition of discomfort, due to inadequacy of information, that motivates
specific exploration (p. 26) (1966), specific curiosity is provoked by conflicting,
surprising, puzzling, and unexpected stimuli (1954a). At first Berlyne theorized that
epistemic curiosity operated as a drive-reduction mechanism and much of his
taxonomy for curiosity is based on this theory. Later he modified this theory to
include optimal arousal along with drive reduction. A key aspect of his taxonomy of
epistemic curiosity is conceptual conflict. Conceptual conflict includes doubt,
perplexity, contradiction, conceptual incongruity, confusion, and irrelevance (1960).
He distinguished among the epistemic curiosity-arousing stimuli using the qualities of
novelty, complexity, surprise, and ambiguity. External stimuli may be collated
31


according to these qualities, which is why he called them collative variables. Further,
Berlyne said that epistemic curiosity may be kept alive with questions and that
conceptual conflict is reduced by information acquired through epistemic behavior.
Berlyne (1954b) conducted a study to demonstrate that surprising and
puzzling stimuli arouse epistemic curiosity. The experimental group received (a) a
questionnaire at the beginning about invertebrate animals, (b) a reading about the
animals which included answers to questions, and (c) a questionnaire at the end which
included questions. The control group did not have the questionnaire in the beginning.
Berlyne hypothesized that a questionnaire administered at the beginning would arouse
epistemic curiosity and he used answers to the post-test quiz and subjective reports as
measures of epistemic curiosity. The two groups differed significantly. He found that
(a) the questionnaire at the beginning tended to arouse curiosity, (b) the two measures
of curiosity (self-reported surprisingness and answers to questions after the reading)
were positively correlated, (c) questions about familiar animals and questions whose
concepts were incompatible arouse more curiosity than others, and (d) that surprising
statements were more likely to be recalled as answers than others. Frick and Cofer
(1972) replicated Berlynes study and found much the same thing. Also prompted by
Berlynes suggestion that the desire to know is evoked by surprising information,
Rossing and Long (1981) conducted a study to investigate the correlations between
curiosity evoked by surprise and of perceived value of information to the desire to
know more about psychological research topics. Their sample consisted of 79
32


volunteer adults from evening credit and non-credit classes ranging in age from 21 to
52 years. Although they found positive correlations between both surprise and
valuing and the desire to gain more knowledge, only the valuing relationship was
significant.
Berlynes research broke ground for others studying curiosity. For example,
Maw (1971) agreed with Berlyne that two kinds of curiosity were perceptual and
epistemic. Using Berlynes concept, Maw operationalized this distinction by
describing a curious child as one who (a) responds positively to new, strange,
incongruous things in the environment, (b) shows a need to know more about herself
and her environment, (c) scans her surroundings seeking new experiences, and (d)
persists in examining and exploring stimuli in order to know more about them. Using
a number of instruments, Maw examined curiosity in 5th graders. He found several
personality variables that distinguished between children with high and low curiosity.
Variables included level of self-acceptance, self-sufficiency, sense of security,
loyalty, square shooters, participation in group activities, social adjustment, and sense
of responsibility for group welfare.
Berlyne and Maw contributed to early thinking about curiosity but were by no
means the only ones. For example, Fowler (1965) also was immersed in the study of
curiosity. He discussed the history and theoretical conceptualizations of curiosity and
exploratory behavior. He discussed curiosity as instinct, drive, and response to
novelty, change, and complexity. He introduced the conceptualization of curiosity as
33


optimal arousal. Finally, he addressed the difficulty of determining whether curiosity
is personality expressed in individual differences or motivation.
Another often overlooked scholar is Arnold (1956), who presented a logical argument
for the existence of the desire to know. She argued that curiosity could not be an
instinct because it served no biological basis. She argued that curiosity could not be
accounted for with the classical conditioning model because many motivations would
have to be paired with some psychological need many times, and this was unfeasible.
Neither was drive theory a good explanation, she reasoned, because the desire to
know more is not an accident emerging as a secondary drive from basic drives. She
stated that all these theories were inadequate because each assumed that living beings
were inert, inactive and must be prodded into activity by drives or needs. She claimed
that not only are all of our senses active, but so are thinking, reasoning, judging, and
imagining. As human beings, we cannot help wanting to know about things, their
effect on us, and what we can do with or about them. Arnold believed that this active
process was more than just a problem-solving process as we search for problems
because they are fun.
Second Wave Measurement
Perhaps not realizing that they were acting out the very process described by
Arnold (1956), researchers began developing techniques for measuring curiosity.
There are approximately ten instruments purporting to measure curiosity in its various
34


forms. Spielberger and Starr (1994) related Berlynes theory of diversive and specific
curiosity to Zuckermans sensation seeking behavior and to their own theory about
state and trait curiosity. They introduced the concept of anxiety into the mix and used
Wundts curve to demonstrate that their theory may better explain curiosity. They
reported on several studies undertaken to investigate curiosity. Results indicate that
there are two components, directly related to epistemic and diversive curiosity.
Epistemic curiosity is information seeking; diversive curiosity relates mostly to
experience seeking. Spielberger and Starr introduced the Ontario Test of Intrinsic
Motivation (OTIM) (Day, 1968), Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) (Zuckerman, Kolin,
Price, & Zoob, 1964), Novelty Experiencing Scale (NES) (Pearson, 1970), Academic
Curiosity Inventory (ACI) (Vidler & Rawan, 1974; 1975), Melbourne Curiosity
Inventory (MCI) (Naylor, 1981), and the State-Trait Curiosity Inventory (STCI)
(Spielberger, Butler, Peters, & Frain, 1976). Their list included perhaps the most
frequently used instruments, but was not all inclusive. Voss and Keller (1983) provide
a more comprehensive listing and description of curiosity measures. Appendix C
summarizes the psychometric information for most of the self-report curiosity
instruments developed during the second wave (Loewenstein, 1994)
Why were so many instruments about curiosity developed? One reason may
be that different theoretical constructions of curiosity were being proposed and tested.
Another reason is that different aspects of the curiosity construct were being
investigated. Last is that different measures were being developed for different
35


populations, however, this is apparent only in Penney and McCanns (1964) curiosity
measure for children. As the following descriptions of the most prominent measures
depict, curiosity was differentially conceived and measured. However, statistical
examination seemed to bring researchers back to Berlyne (1954a) and James (1890)
initial intuition that curiosity is composed of two components: information-seeking
and experience-seeking.
In 1964, Penney and McCann developed the Children's Reactive Curiosity
Scale (CRCS). Designed for students in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade, the scale was
based on Berlynes definition of specific curiosity: (a) a tendency to approach and
explore relatively new stimulus situations (novelty), (b) a tendency to approach and
explore incongruous, complex stimuli (dissonance, complexity), and (c) a tendency to
vary stimulation in the presence of frequently experienced stimulation (variety).
Additionally in 1966, using the same concept of curiosity and psychometric approach,
Penney and Reinehr developed a Stimulus-Variation Seeking Scale for Adults
(SVSS).
Around the same time Garlington and Shimota (1964) developed the Change
Seeker Index (CSI). They defined change seeking as a habitual, consistent pattern of
behavior which acts to control the amount and kind of stimulus input a given
organism receives, stimulus input includes stimuli from both internal (ideational,
cognition) and external sources (p. 920). Garlington and Shimota believed that
change-seeking was a component of both diversive and epistemic curiosity. Also
36


around the same time Zuckerman produced the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS)
(1964), a scale still used today. SSS was designed to quantify the construct: optimal
stimulation level, a component Berlyne (1960) later incorporated into his definition
of curiosity.
Pearson (1970) suspected that the instruments identified above were only
partially addressing curiosity, or more precisely, the novelty experiencing component
of curiosity. Therefore, she followed Fiske's (1966a) suggestion to use a conceptual-
operational strategy to construct her scale. Pearson constructed the Novelty
Experiencing Scale (NES) based on a 2-by-2 model of how novelty might be
experienced: external cognition, external sensation, internal cognition, and internal
sensation. She also constructed a 10-item Desire for Novelty Scale and defined the
desire for novelty as expressing the wish for new experiences and recognizing the
boring nature of every day life. She predicted that this scale would be independent of
the four scales comprising the NES. Her prediction was confirmed. Specific NES
scales were differentiated from each other and the global NES score. Thus, she
suggested that a number of relatively unique dispositions related to novelty might
exist, which curiosity measures had not yet captured. Most measures developed and
in use at that time assessed the external sensation component of experiencing novelty.
Some researchers were not as concerned with how curiosity was experienced.
Rather, they wondered if curiosity was a state aroused by stimuli in the environment
or an enduring trait of ones personality. This aspect of curiosity had not been
37


addressed and as a result, began to grow in importance. Camp and Dietrich (1985)
characterized this distinction in the following way: as a trait, curiosity is seen as an
enduring interest in acquiring new information. As a state, or contextually focused
activity, it is seen as epistemic curiosity, or the desire to seek (specific) knowledge
(p. 401). Researchers began to believe that some curiosity measures assessed state
curiosity and others assessed trait curiosity. About five methods for assessing
curiosity as a state or as a trait emerged. These include Days (1969) Ontario Test of
Intrinsic Motivation (OTIM) (1969), Leherisseys (1971a) 20-item State Curiosity
Scale (SCS), State Epistemic Curiosity Scale (SECS), Spielberger, Butler, Peters, and
Frains (1976) State-Trait Curiosity Inventory (STCI), Naylors (1981) Melbourne
Curiosity Inventory (MCI), and Vidler and Rowans (1974) Scale of Academic
Curiosity. See Appendix C for more detailed information.
Vidler and Rowan placed less emphasis on the sate-trait distinction of
curiosity. Their scale was based on earlier work by Chiu (1968). Chiu had developed
an instrument to assess academic motivation based on 16 variables comprising
academic motivation. One of the variables was curiosity. Administering the 278-item
survey to a sample of 285 eleventh graders, Chiu found six factors: curiosity, positive
orientation to learning, need for social recognition, academic ability, motive to avoid
failure, and reaction to expectation. Although Chius sample was small for the
number of items in the survey, Vidler and Rowan adapted the instrument and
administered it to 170 college students. Factor analysis revealed a five factor
38


structure. This finding was surprising because the authors had assumed that academic
curiosity was unidimensional, but not so surprising because the original instrument
had a six-factor structure.
Unlike Vidler and Rowans findings, factor analysis studies of the various
measures of curiosity more often than not revealed two factors. To test the hypothesis
of curiosity as a multifaceted construct, Langevin (1971) chose five measures of
curiosity, including teacher ratings and observations, and the Otis and Raven tests for
intelligence. This was a multi trait-multimethod approach. The sample was 195 6th
grade boys and girls. Factor analyses revealed two weak curiosity factors, which he
named breadth and depth of interest. Langevin was uncertain as to whether his results
reflected the different methods of assessment or whether he found evidence for a two-
factor curiosity construct. Ainley (1987) strengthened Langevins results by also
finding evidence for a two-factor curiosity construct. She administered five curiosity
scales to 227 college students. The scales represented a theoretical cross section of
curiosity as optimal arousal, cognitive processing, and state-trait. Her factor analysis
revealed two factors, which she also labeled breadth and depth of interest.
Somewhat in qualifying contrast, Boyle (1989) examined the factor structure
of curiosity as well. His study varied slightly because he conducted a factor analysis
of state-trait curiosity and state-trait anxiety using four scales, which he administered
to 300 high school students. His factor analysis showed six factors: a positive and
negative factor for each of state curiosity, trait curiosity, and state anxiety. Thus, his
39


findings imply a four factor structure for curiosity. However, if the positive and
negative factors are thought to represent a single continuum, his research might
support a two-factor structure for curiosity. Because of the instruments he used, his
factors define structure with regard to state and trait curiosity.
Lastly, Starr (1992) also assessed the relationships among various conceptions
of curiosity. She administered five instruments to 376 undergraduate students (60%
female). Her factor analyses revealed two factors. With these results, Starr argued that
curiosity is composed, as Berlyne posited, of an information seeking component and
an experience (sensation) experiencing component.
Summary
What can be said about curiosity? With some certainty, two things can be
said. First, researchers tend to agree that curiosity is inborn, but also believe that
curiosity is influenced by the environment. For example, Mohanty and Mishra (1991)
conducted an experiment with 40 four- to five-year olds. Giving one group a series of
tasks to help them grow intellectually and in curiosity, researchers found that this
group improved significantly more than controls in the short- and long-term effects in
both intelligence and curiosity. Their study shows how the environment can exert a
positive influence on the development of curiosity. The possibly negative influences
of the environment on curiosity development concern some researchers. Deci (1995)
and Wlodkowski and Jaynes (1990) have argued that natural curiosity declines as
40


children go to school and they attribute this decline to various aspects of the
schooling process. However, Camp and Dietrich (1985) found high levels of curiosity
in young, middle, and older adults, who took the OTIM. There are still some
unresolved issues and the nature-nurture debate remains complicated. Researchers
also seem to agree on a second aspect of curiosity. Curiosity is apparently composed
of two factors, an information-seeking or epistemic factor and an experience or
sensation-seeking factor. So far, no one has suggested that curiosity is not related to a
love of learning. Thus, Bronzafts (1996) inference that people who are curious and
look forward to learning develop a love of learning disposition seems reasonable.
Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation grew up with, and in some ways out of, curiosity
research. As with definitions of curiosity, definitions of intrinsic motivation vary.
Some scholars (Berlyne, 1971; Day, 1969; 1971; Maw, 1971; McReynolds, 1971)
thought of curiosity and intrinsic motivation as the same construct. Other scholars did
not (Dember & Earl, 1957; Fowler, 1965). At least one common thread pulled the
various definitions of intrinsic motivation together. Intrinsic motivation refers to the
inherent nature of the activity itself (Lahey, 2001). Research on intrinsic motivation
moved beyond the bounds of curiosity in two specific ways. First, researchers
investigated the whys and wherefores of intrinsically motivating tasks. Several
taxonomies (Deci, 1980; Malone & Lepper, 1987; Young, 1961) emerged from this
41


research expanding the concept of intrinsic motivation. Second, extrinsic and intrinsic
motivation were examined. Several important theories of motivation emerged from
this second line of research. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation research also
developed into an area of study on self-concept as competence. This section presents
definitions of intrinsic motivation, relevant research, and connects intrinsic
motivation to other constructs related to love of learning. However, in keeping with
the conceptual framework described in chapter one, the connection between intrinsic
motivation and self-concept as competence will be addressed later in the chapter as
part of the self-concept research related to the love of learning.
Definitions
Apparently, many researchers (Berlyne, 1971; Day, 1971; Maw, 1971) who
studied curiosity redefined their theories, models, and research in terms of intrinsic
motivation. For example, Berlyne (1971) described intrinsic motivation as motivation
aimed at certain internal consequences that constitute intrinsic reinforcements or
reward (p. 188). He further observed that novelty, complexity, surprise, and
ambiguity are all involved in intrinsic motivation. These were the collative variables
he developed in his research on curiosity. Secondly, Day (1969,1971) developed a
specific instrument entitled the Ontario Test of Intrinsic Motivation (OTIM) based on
Berlynes definition of curiosity. Indeed, Intrinsic motivation: A new direction in
education (1971), contained at least three chapters about research on curiosity
42


(Berlyne, 1971; Day, 1971; Maw, 1971). In a chapter on the assessment of intrinsic
motivation, McReynolds (1971) reviewed most of the instruments that had been
developed to assess curiosity implying the two constructs synonomity. Finally,
Beswick (1974) pointed out that curiosity is commonly taken to be the prototypical
example of intrinsic motivation (p. 15). Thus, many early researchers conceived of
curiosity and intrinsic motivation as much the same thing, even if they differed
regarding the essence of each.
Earlier than the confluence of research activity mentioned above, several
theorists occasionally referred to intrinsic motivation. For example, Woodworth
(1918) stated that a child, pursues an activity only when it is intrinsically interesting
to himself (p. 67). Troland (1928) developed the idea of human novelty-seeking as
intrinsically motivating. Murray and Kluckhohn (1953) introduced the idea of modal
activity, which is intrinsic activity governed by an effort to appreciate or achieve
excellence for its own sake. Hilgard and Russell (1950) distinguished between the
intrinsically and extrinsically rewarding relationships of tasks and goals. Maslow
(1954) implied that personal growth motivation is intrinsically motivating. Finally,
Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman (1959) defined motivator factors as intrinsic and
hygiene factors as extrinsic to job tasks. Seemingly, these theorists provided cairns
for later intrinsic motivation research.
Although the theorists mentioned above began exploring the intrinsic
motivation realm earlier or concurrently, the first use of the term intrinsic motivation
43


is commonly attributed attributed to Harlow, Harlow, and Meyer (1950) and Harlow
(1950) (Hunt, 1971; Voss & Keller, 1983). Harlow, Harlow, and Meyer (1950)
observed four rhesus monkeys who solved puzzles without extrinsic rewards. The
researchers postulated that the activity provided intrinsic reward. In a follow up study
Harlow (1950) found that two rhesus monkeys were intrinsically motivated to learn
how to solve a more complex puzzle and were intrinsically motivated to improve
their performance once they had learned to solve the puzzle. In summarizing research
on animals, Harlow (1953) argued for a motivation beyond basic needs and secondary
drives. He concluded that animals and humans have a natural desire to manipulate
and suggested that this desire is intrinsically motivated.
The idea that intrinsic motivation was a drive was difficult to release, yet the
definition that most researchers have come to accept is that intrinsic motivation is
derived from the activity itself. For example, Deci (1975a, 1980) described intrinsic
motivation as the activity itself being its own reward. He indicated that this definition
is a good operational definition because the key elements are observable, verifiable,
and quantifiable. Malone and Lepper (1987) used the words fun, interesting,
captivating, enjoyable, and intrinsically motivating interchangeably to describe an
intrinsically motivating activity that people engage in for its own sake. Wlodkowski
and Jaynes (1990) took the desire to learn, plus perseverance, valuing, and enjoyment
of learning into their meaning of intrinsic motivation, in which learning is a satisfying
and rewarding activity in and of itself. That intrinsic motivation is inherent in the
44


activity itself is central to research in the area. However, this essence has by no means
limited researchers conceptualization of intrinsic motivation. On the contrary, it
seems to have inspired several researchers imaginations. What follow are summaries
of several taxonomies that extended the initial meaning of intrinsic motivation.
Taxonomies
As early as 1961, Young identified four variables which he thought comprised
or affected intrinsic motivation. They are competence, effectance, autonomy, and
hedonism. The first three variables are addressed below in the review of self-concept
as competence. The fourth variable also is addressed below as flow. Youngs
taxonomy is somewhat incomplete because the variables he identified do not include
what is meant by an activity being inherently interesting in and of itself. Malone and
Lepper (1987) extend Youngs initial grouping by including inherent interest.
Malone and Lepper (1987) created perhaps the most comprehensive and
extensive taxonomy of intrinsic motivation. They specified two motivational
processes: the individual and interpersonal. Individual motivations include challenge,
curiosity, control, and fantasy. Interpersonal motivations are cooperation,
competition, and recognition. Although the interpersonal motivations are important
and interact in many ways with individual motivations, the individual motivations are
particularly relevant to defining the love of learning. They show connectedness with
the other components proposed here to be part of the love of learning. The following
45


paragraphs summarize the definition for each of the individual motivation
components in Malone and Leppers taxonomy.
The challenge component stems from common belief that people prefer an
optimal level of challenge. Challenge relates to effectance motivation (Harter, 1978;
White, 1959), perceived competence (Deci, 1975; Lepper & Green, 1978), flow states
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1975), and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977). An activity is usually
challenging, when it involves goals whose attainment is uncertain. Lepper and
Malone (1987) suggested that intrinsic motivation involving challenge, competence,
effectance, or mastery motivation creates an image of humans as problem solvers.
Humans seek to solve problems and problems of intermediate difficulty are best.
Challenge is interconnected with several constructs proposed to be part of love of
learning. The challenge component is explored in greater depth below as part of flow
and self-concept as competence.
Curiosity (reviewed extensively above) is the second individual motivation
component. Malone and Lepper (1987) state that curiosity may be the most direct
intrinsic motivation for learning p. 235. Curiosity is aroused when there is an
optimal level of informational complexity (Berlyne, 1960, 1965) or an optimal level
of discrepancy or incongruity (Hunt, 1971; Piaget, 1951; 1952). In this case cognitive
curiosity refers to the natural drive toward ordering cognitive structures. Intrinsic
motivation involving curiosity, incongruity, or discrepancy evokes an image of
humans as information processors. Humans typically get pleasure from an optimal
46


level of surprise (Lepper & Malone, 1987). Research regarding optimal arousal or
discrepancy is further addressed as flow.
The third individual motivation component, control, is defined by (a) range of
outcomes that the environment provides, and (b) the extent to which the probability of
each outcome in contingent upon the responses of the person. The control component
is an important aspect of much of the research related to intrinsic motivation (e.g.
deCharms, 1968; Deci, 1975). Intrinsic motivation involving perceived control and
self-determination conjures an image of humans as voluntary actors. Humans become
intrinsically motivated when they feel they have personal control over meaningful
outcomes (Lepper & Malone, 1987). The control component appears most frequently
with research relating intrinsic motivation and feelings of efficacy and self-esteem.
As such, research findings about the control component of intrinsic motivation are
presented in self-concept as competence.
The final factor of the Malone and Lepper intrinsic motivation taxonomy is
fantasy. They state that fantasy is most likely to occur in an environment that evokes
mental images of physical or social situations not actually present. Malone and
Lepper often introduced fantasy as a component in their research of intrinsic
motivation (i.e., Lepper & Malone, 1987). The research of Malone, Lepper, and
others relating fantasy and intrinsic motivation is summarized later in this section.
Malone and Leppers taxonomy obviously encompasses a broad view of
intrinsic motivation. From this perspective the love of learning may be comprised
47


mostly of individual motivations of intrinsic motivation. Although fantasy is a means
of creating inherent interest, it is not the only way. Thus, Malone and Lepper do not
completely address inherent interest in an activity, which is the defining essence of
intrinsic motivation. However, interest as a research area has become a research area
in recent decades, and as such, is discussed below. In defining love of learning as a
dispositional construct, the construct of interest as well as inherent interest (intrinsic
motivation) are included.
The third taxonomy may be more accurately typified as two generalizations
about intrinsic motivation. Deci (1980) believed that intrinsic motivation is an
explanatory concept in two ways. First, organisms need an optimal level of
physiological or psychological stimulation. This approach explains behavior that
increases or reduces incongruity. The second way understands intrinsic motivation as
the felt need for competence. In this way intrinsic motivation is purposive and self-
directed. In both ways of explanation the need for optimal challenge exists. As
pointed out above, challenge, as part of and as well as these two generalizations, is
detailed below in the reviews of flow and self concept as competence research.
Decis generalizations are expansive but not as comprehensive or extensive as
Malone and Leppers taxonomy. What is evident among all three perspectives is the
theorists assumption that intrinsic motivation is intimately connected with self-
concept in terms of feeling efficacious, autonomous, competent, and in control.
However, the taxonomies captured more than this; intrinsic motivation means having
48


fun because an activity is inherently interesting. Young mentions hedonism. Malone
and Lepper introduce fantasy as one means to channel fun. Deci speaks of optimal
stimulation. Nonetheless, each taxonomy is limited in its expose of intrinsic
motivation as fun. In general, these taxonomies provided organizing principles for
understanding and extending the construct of intrinsic motivation and research about
intrinsic motivation in general.
Research
Intrinsic motivation. The study of intrinsic motivation has continued for at
least a quarter of a century. One body of research has focused on the intrinsically
motivating nature of various tasks, especially learning tasks. Another body of
research has focused on the contrast between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Finally, several measurements of intrinsic motivation have been developed for
different age groups and a variety of purposes.
To examine the intrinsically motivating nature of a learning task, Ben ware and
Deci (1984) tested whether college students who learned with an active orientation
would be more intrinsically motivated and learn more than students who learned with
a passive orientation. The active orientation was created by having subjects learn
material with the expectation of teaching it to another student; the passive orientation
was created by having subjects learn the same material with the expectation of being
49


tested on it. Forty-three first year college students were randomly assigned to one of
the two conditions. Both groups were given three hours to study a 25-page
moderately difficult article about brain functioning. Subjects who learned in order to
teach were more intrinsically motivated, had higher conceptual learning scores, and
perceived themselves to be more actively engaged with the environment than students
who learned in preparation for a test. However, rote learning scores were the same for
the two groups. Benware and Deci concluded that intrinsic motivation grows out of
more active learning and results in increased conceptual understanding and self-
efficacy.
Using fantasy as a channel of intrinsic motivation in computer activities,
Malone (1981) found computer features most highly correlated with 65 school
childrens preferences included (a) whether or not the game had an explicit goal, (b)
scoring, (c) sound effects, and (d) randomness. These features relate to challenge
(goal), curiosity (randomness), control (scoring) and fantasy (sound effects). Malone
(1981) further discovered in an experiment with eighty 5th graders that external
embellishments in learning environments, in this case computer games, actually
influence intrinsic motivation. Lepper and Malone (1987) embedded identical
instructional sequences in activities that varied in motivational appeal. They found
that children chose the embellished game 50% more frequently, but that the
enhancements did not produce significantly different learning. Lepper and Cordova
(1992) reviewed studies that examined the congruence between intrinsic motivation
50


and educational goals in computer activities. In these computer activities success and
enjoyment depended on learning the subject matter presented. Overall, they found
that students learned more, retained more, and generalized (transferred) more of what
they learned from the educational activities they had rated as fun or had chosen to use.
Fantasy however, must be inherently related to content and educational goals or it
distracts from learning. Finally, Parker and Lepper (1992) examined intrinsic
motivation on the effects of embedding instruction in fantasy contexts on childrens
learning. Students in the fantasy condition showed greater learning and transfer than
students assigned to the no-fantasy condition. Results suggest first that fantasy is
related to intrinsic motivation as Malone and Leppers taxonomy suggests, and that
intrinsic motivation is related to learning and transfer.
In general studies such as these show that inherent interest in an activity is fun
when a fantasy factor is included. This factor affects learning when it is embedded
within the learning task. Inherent enjoyment of an activity varies with fantasy and
fantasy is a factor in the environment that can be manipulated. However, fantasy is
not the only feature in the environment that influences intrinsic motivation. Another
influential factor in the environment is extrinsic reward.
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and rewards. Theorists have argued that
that extrinsic rewards undermine intrinsic motivation. In 1964 Holt declared that
we destroy the ... love of learning ... in children by encouraging and
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compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards gold
stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the walls, or As on report
cards, or honor rolls, or deans lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys (p. 274).
Montessori (1967) suggested that rewards were unnecessary and perhaps harmful.
More recently, Kohn (1993) also has been critical of extrinsic rewards stating that
they undermine intrinsic interest in an activity.
Through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, research was conducted to determine
the affect of extrinsic rewards on a variety of dependent variables including
achievement, performance, and intrinsic motivation. After examining over 40 studies,
McGraw (1978) concluded that extrinsic rewards had a detrimental affect on
performance. Size of reward and age of participant did not affect this result. Although
more often than not the studies showed that rewards have a detrimental affect on
performance, McGraw qualified his conclusion because research results were not
definitive. He distinguished two aspects of the task that affected whether rewards
have a detrimental affect on performance. He labeled the first aspect attractiveness. If
a task is in any way intellectually challenging, then rewards have a detrimental affect
on performance. If a task is mundane such as lever pressing or vigilance, then rewards
sustain or improve performance. He labeled the second aspect algorithmic-heuristic
distinction. If the task requires participants to create a heuristic rather than to simply
follow an algorithm to complete the task, then extrinsic rewards have a detrimental
affect on performance. If a task involves the consistent application of a predetermined
52


algorithm, then rewards sustain or improve performance. In McGraws distinction
one can see challenge and competence coming into play. One sees that both extrinsic
and intrinsic rewards affect learning and performance.
Several meta-analyses have been conducted over the last 15 years. Rummel
and Feinberg (1988) reviewed 45 studies, Weirsma (1992) reviewed 16 studies, and
Tang and Hall (1995) reviewed 52 studies. All found support for the undermining
effect of rewards although Tang and Hall found that verbal rewards enhanced
intrinsic motivation. However, two meta-analyses challenged that conclusion.
Cameron and Pearce (1994) collected 96 experiments in which an experimental group
received a reward and a control group did not. They found no significant undermining
on most reward contingencies, although verbal rewards enhanced intrinsic motivation
on self-report and behavioral measures. Eisenberger and Cameron (1996) examined
two substes of the 96 studies using funnel graphs and found similar results. The first
subset included 61 studies in which the dependent variable was time spent on an
activity after reward was withdrawn from the experimental group. The second subset
included 64 studies in which the dependent variable was participants attitudes (task
interest, enjoyment, overall satisfaction) toward a task. These studies led Covington
(2000) to conclude that doing well gradewise does not necessarily interfere with
learning for its own sake. However, Deci, Koestner, and Ryan (1999) conducted a
meta-analysis of 128 studies. They found a significant undermining effect (Cohen
composite d = -.24). Their breakdowns of various categories likewise showed
53


consistent undermining effects in almost all categories. Exceptions include verbal
rewards for college students, unexpected rewards, and task-non-contingent rewards.
Csikszentmihalyi (1975) believed before so many studies were conducted, that
intrinsic and extrinsic motivations were neither inversely related nor mutually
exclusive. Conflicting results imply that this may be the case. In fact several scholars
developed perspectives which account for this. First, Deci (1980) suggested that
Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET) explains how intrinsic motivation and extrinsic
rewards work together. CET states that whether intrinsic or extrinsic motivation is
involved depends on the interpretation (or of the salience) of either the controlling
aspect or the informational aspect of the reward. Of the controlling aspect, Deci
(1995) was still compelled to state that applying principles of reinforcement
undermine intrinsic motivation. Second, Middleton and Toluk (1999) explained how
learners engage in academic tasks either for intrinsic or extrinsic reasons because of
how they value a task. Middleton and Toluk focus on the value aspect of the
expectancy-value theory of motivation. Within the intrinsic framework, learners
compare an academic task with their prior experiences. If it is considered similar to
an interest, learners will engage as long as a task is stimulating (arousal) and as long
as learners feel a sense of control (autonomy) of outcomes. If a task is not considered
an interest, then learners consider extrinsic factors such as reward or avoiding failure
in a cost/benefit analysis of sorts where the expected reward must outweigh the
expected cost to engage.
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Intrinsic motivation is inherent interest in an activity itself. Researchers have
worked with this basic definition and extended it in many ways. Nonetheless,
instruments designed to assess intrinsic motivation have not always been based on
this essential conceptualization. As with research, scales designed to assess intrinsic
motivation have extended the initial definition.
Measures of Intrinsic Motivation
Several different measures of intrinsic motivation have been developed over
the years. Although many more have been developed for curiosity, some measures
seem to measure either or both curiosity and intrinsic motivation. For example, Day
(1969,1971) based the Ontario Test of Intrinsic Motivation (OTIM) on Berlynes
conceptualization of curiosity. Beswick (1974) developed a measure entitled
Curiosity Items to assess academic intrinsic motivation. He based his instrument
partially on Days OTIM. That curiosity and intrinsic motivation are often perceived
as the same is borne out by research by Starr (1992). After analyzing the results
comparing five curiosity instruments, including OTIM, Starr suggested that curiosity
is about the same as intrinsic motivation. However, several researchers have
developed measurements specifically to assess intrinsic motivation. Among them are
Harter (1981), Hamilton, Haier, and Buchsbaum (1984), and Gottfried (1982,1985,
1990).
Beswicks (1974) developed a 16-item assessment of academic intrinsic
55


motivation entitled Curiosity Items. Beswick derived the 16 items from Days OTIM,
Fitzgeralds (1966) openness to experience, Cattells (1957) curiosity erg factor, and
generated original items based on theory and research. Beswick found correlations
with other curiosity measures, general interest, interest in study subjects, perceived
competence of ability in a given subject, goals to attend college, and occupational
choices. Beswicks instrument captures a competence component suggested to be part
of intrinsic motivation. However, like Days OTIM, the scale demonstrates a strong
overlap between curiosity and intrinsic motivation.
The self-report instrument developed by Harter (1981) probably measures
intrinsic motivation more accurately than Beswicks scale. Developed for children in
third through ninth grade, Harters scale taps a childs intrinsic versus extrinsic
orientation toward learning and mastery in the classroom. She defined five separate
dimensions using an intrinsic and extrinsic pole: preference for challenge versus
preference for easy work, curiosity/interest versus teacher approval, independent
mastery attempts versus dependence on the teacher, independent judgment versus
reliance on the teachers judgment, and internal versus external criteria for
success/failure. Factor analyses revealed loading on the components of the scale, as
expected. Her factors in some respects parallel Malone and Leppers (1987)
taxonomy (challenge, curiosity, control), however fantasy is missing. Validity studies
reflect a good fit for the construct as she conceived it. Lepper, Sethi, Dialdin, and
Drake (1997) revised Harters scale to allow for the reporting of both intrinsic and
56


extrinsic motivation. They discovered that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are not
perfectly inversely correlated, but have a weak negative yet significant correlation.
Hamilton, Haier, and Buchsbaum (1984) developed a self-report measure of
intrinsic enjoyment and boredom coping for adolescents and adults. They defined
intrinsic enjoyment as intense involvement, interest, and absorbed concentration.
They characterized boredom coping as a disposition to restructure ones perceptions
and participation in potentially boring activities so as to decrease boredom. Both traits
were hypothesized to reflect the capacity for good attentional control across a variety
of situations. Items include academic, work, and recreational situations. Although
Hamilton, Haier, and Buchsbaum examined attentional control, the intrinsic
enjoyment items reflect forced choice between intrinsically rewarding and
extrinsically rewarding experiences. Intrinsic enjoyment is significantly correlated
with an independent measure of intrinsic involvement (defined as a low wish to be
somewhere else), the affective experience of potency, self-reports of concentrating
with ease, high ego development, an internal locus of control, lack of boredom
susceptibility, and evoked potential (EP) indices of attentional change and cortical
augmenting. Boredom coping is associated with a higher percent of time actually
spent alone, high continuous performance task measures of attentional capacity, and
low Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and research diagnostic
criteria indices of psychopathology. Although this instrument seemingly
juxtapositions intrinsic motivation with boredom, the two scales are qualitatively
57


different. Specifically, intrinsic enjoyment reflects choice between inherent
enjoyment of an activity versus an extrinsic reward of outcome. The boredom scale
represents a forced choice between experiencing boredom or doing something about
it. The intrinsic enjoyment scale captures inherent interest in various activities and
also correlates with measures of control and competence.
Gottfried (1982,1985,1990) developed the Childrens Academic Intrinsic
Motivation Inventory (CAIMI) and the Young Childrens Academic Intrinsic
Motivation Inventory (Y-CAIMI). She first developed the former inventory for
children between the fourth and ninth grade. She later developed the latter inventory
for children between seven and nine years old. She defined academic intrinsic
motivation similarly for both age groups. Academic intrinsic motivation includes the
enjoyment of learning, an orientation toward mastery, curiosity, persistence, task
endogeny, and learning challenging, difficult, and novel tasks. The instrument for the
older group includes items about reading, math, social studies, science and school in
general. For the younger group excluded items about social studies and science.
Gottfried has demonstrated positive correlations with achievement, intelligence, and
perception of competence and negative correlations to anxiety.
To summarize, intrinsic motivation is related to a love of learning for two
reasons. First, its definition is inherent interest in an activity, in this instance learning,
reflects prima facie evidence for a love of learning. Second, intrinsic motivation
seems interrelated to other constructs that also seemingly relate to love lofe learning.
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For example, although a few early theorists offered several unique seedlings of
thought about intrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation research is bound very tightly
at the hip with curiosity research. A majority of researchers saw the two constructs as
the same thing. However, specific research about intrinsic motivation grew into a
distinct area with two definite parts. One part focused specifically on intrinsically
motivating tasks. The other part focused on the contrast between intrinsic motivation
and extrinsic motivation. Measurement of intrinsic motivation has shown
relationships between intrinsic motivation and curiosity as well as intrinsic motivation
and challenge (further discussed with flow), intrinsic motivation and control
(discussed with both flow and self-concept below), and intrinsic motivation and
boredom (a variable in this study). Inherent interest in an activity remains the key
criteria for intrinsic motivation. However, it is evident that intrinsic motivation is
inherently interconnected with numerous variables related to the love of learning.
Flow
Flow is a natural offshoot of intrinsic motivation because flow is the
subjective experience of intrinsic motivation. Deci and Ryan (1985) said flow
represents a descriptive dimension that may signify some of the purer instances of
intrinsic motivation, when highly intrinsically motivated, organisms will be extremely
interested in what they are doing and experience a sense of flow (p. 29).
Csikszentmihalyi (1988a) explains that scholars have found the concept of flow
59


theoretically useful and that flow has become a technical term in the field of intrinsic
motivation (p. 3). One key difference between the two constructs is that intrinsic
motivation research focuses on behavior and flow research focuses on subjective
experience (Csikszentmihalyi, 1988a).
Definition
How is the subjective experience of flow characterized? Athletes describe
flow as being in the zone. Religious mystics describe flow as ecstasy. Artists and
musicians describe flow as aesthetic rapture (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997).
Csikszentmihalyi (1988b, 1990) defines nine components of flow. They are (a) a
balance of challenge and skill, (b) clearly defined goals, (c) immediate feedback, (d)
perceived sense of control, (e) the merging action and awareness, (f) absorbed
concentration, (g) loss of self-conscious awareness, (h) loss of a sense of time, and (i)
an autotelic self. Auto is Greek for self and telos is Greek for goal or purpose. The
autotelic self describes intrinsic motivation when a person is fully engaged in an
activity or goal for its own sake. Flow is an autotelic experience of an optimal state
that is universally experienced (Csikszentmihalyi, 1988c).
The first component of flow is the balance between challenge and skill. This
balance is pivotal not only for skill and challenge but for flow and non-flow
experiences as well. Challenge is by no means unique to flow. Malone and Lepper
(1987) identified challenge is part of a taxonomy of intrinsic motivation. Optimal
60


challenges, successfully met, lead to feelings of efficacy and competence. This
component connects the constructs of flow, intrinsic motivation and self-concept as
competence because the aspect of challenge is inherent in all three. The distinction is
primarily point of view. With flow, challenge is a component of the subjective
experience (Csikszentmihalyi 1988b, 1990). With intrinsic motivation, challenge is
part of a descriptive taxonomy of intrinsic motivation (Malone & Lepper, 1987). With
self-concept as competence, challenge is a variable (internal vs. external, arousing vs.
incongruous) that bridges ones subjective experience with feelings of efficacy and
competence or not (Deci, 1975; White, 1959). However, Csikszentmihalyi (1982)
also argues that the balance between challenge and skill fosters intrinsically-
motivated and self-rewarding learning. This kind of learning generates feelings that
Maslow (1967) described as peak experiences. In fact, Csikszentmihalyi (1982;
1988a) states that flow is similar to Maslows peak experience. Such an argument
implies that the challenge-to-skill balance of flow is also connected to self-concept as
growth, discussed below. Generally, the challenge-to-skill balance is integrated and
overlapping with four of the seven conceptual pieces defining love of learning.
Secondly, in order for an activity to be challenging, there must be goals whose
attainment is uncertain but perceived as achievable. Malone and Lepper (1987) state
that explicit goals of intermediate difficulty whose attainment is perceived as
achievable give direction and purpose. Such goals have been shown to enhance
intrinsic motivation (Malone, 1981; Malone & Lepper, 1987; Manderlink &
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Harackiewicz, 1984), performance (Dweck, 1986) and competence (Harter, 1978;
Manderlink & Harackiewicz, 1984). The sense that one is in the process of achieving
a goal describes part of the flow experience.
Combined with this sense is a third component, immediate feedback. As an
individual engages in an activity where goals are clearly defined, then feedback about
progress towards their achievement becomes part of the process. As an individual
progresses towards a goal and receives feedback that the goal is more nearly
achievable, his or her subjective experience is positively enhanced. Thus, an
individual becomes more engaged in the activity (Manderlink & Harackiewicz, 1984)
and more likely to experience flow. This process facilitates goal accomplishment. As
with the balance of challenge and skill, goals and feedback provide connectivity to
intrinsic motivation and self-concept as competence.
With the balance of challenge and skill, goals, and feedback, the perception
that one is in control, as another component of flow, fits within the intrinsic
motivation taxonomy (Malone & Lepper, 1987) and self-concept as competence
(DeCharms, 1968; 1976; Deci, 1980; Deci, 1995; Harter, 1978; Malone & Lepper,
1987; White, 1959). To experience flow, a person needs to feel that he or she is
actively involved, is doing something, is a moving force in the activity. Research has
demonstrated this in sports (Fredricks, Alfeld-Liro, & Eccles, 1999; Jackson &
Roberts, 1992), music (Fredricks, Alfeld-Liro, & Eccles, 1999), art (Massimini &
Carli, 1988), social activities (Massimini & Carli, 1988), work (Allison, & Duncan,
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1988; Delle Fave & Massimini, 1988, Lefevre, 1988; Neumann, 1999), leisure (Delle
Fave & Massimini, 1988; Lefevre, 1988), and learning (Chan, 1998, Fredricks,
Alfeld-Liro, & Eccles, 1999; Massimini & Carli, 1988, Mayers, 1978, Nakamura,
1988; Neumann, 1999). Control along with the three previously mentioned
components of flow also appear often in the research literature related to intrinsic
motivation and self-concept as competence.
The four remaining components comprising flow do not appear as frequently
in motivation research. They reflect expressions of conscious experience. Merging
action and awareness and concentration on an activity seem to be two sides of a coin.
As a person becomes more fully engaged his or her actions (cognitive, behavioral,
affective), he or she becomes less distracted by either external or internal stimuli. He
or she becomes increasingly absorbed, concentrating more fully on the activity such
that action and awareness merge into a singular experience. As this experience
continues, a person may lose not only his or her sense of self-consciousness but also a
sense of the passage of time. This conscious experience is like being fully asleep to
everything else and totally awake to, aware of, and absorbed in the activity of ones
attention, as if nothing else exists.
Optimal Arousal
With these nine components comprising flow, one cannot overlook the
possibility that the subjective experience of flow may be the subjective experience of
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optimal arousal or optimal incongruity. Indeed, the defining tone of the components
of flow taken together hinges upon the balance between challenge and skill, which of
itself seems illustrative of optimal arousal. This particular line of thinking hooks into
the conceptual understandings and research on curiosity (Berlyne, 1960; 1966;
Harlow, 1953), intrinsic motivation, (Day, Berlyne, & Hunt, 1971; Harter, 1981;
Hunt, 1971; Malone & Lepper, 1987), and self-concept as competence (DeCharms
1968; 1976; White, 1959). This optimal point, however, may be examined from at
least two points of view (Deci & Ryan, 1985); either it is stimulating or frustrating.
Researchers who have examined exploratory behavior (Fiske & Maddi, 1961),
novelty-seeking (Fowler, 1965; Scitovsky, 1992), and sensation seeking (Ainley,
1987) support the view of an optimal point as stimulating. As Hebb (1955) points out
no arousal no learning (p. 249). Researchers who have studied the discrepancy
model also offer evidence of an optimum in which rather than seeking stimulation,
the goal is to reduce incongruity or dissonance (Hunt, 1971). In a similar vein, the
goal to reduce uncertainty has also been perceived in terms of an optimum. This view
is so important to learning that Kagan (1972) defined the very wish to know as the
motive to resolve uncertainty (p. 54). This approach hearkens to Berlynes (1960)
research on curiosity (discussed above) where he identified incongruity and
uncertainty as two of the collative variables. Berlyne (1963) was able to incorporate
optimal psychological and physiological stimulation and incongruity into his
theoretical construct of intrinsic motivation.
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Whether seeking arousal or reducing incongruity, ones attention becomes
more concentrated. Hamiltons (1981) research demonstrates attention is positively
associated with absorbing interest and intrinsic enjoyment and negatively related to
boredom and psychopathology. Self-regulation of attention provides a fascinating
twist to the notion of optimal arousal because it implies that a person has some
control and choice in the matter. As such, attentional-regulation also connects flow
and self-concept as competence. Again, the overlap among the constructs of curiosity,
intrinsic motivation, flow, interest, as well as self-concept as competence seems clear.
Seemingly, flow is the subjective experience of optimal arousal or challenge.
The nervous systems of higher animals function to either increase or reduce
stimulation. Noteworthy are those experiences that are not optimum. When a person
is not aroused enough, often the experience is boredom. When stimulation exceeds
optimum, often the experience is anxiety. (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; 1982,1997;
Scitovsky, 1992).
Research
Gross (1982) pointed out that Learning for its own sakethe so called joy of
learning has been cited often but rarely studied precisely (p. 166). Flow has been
studied across a wide range of activities around the world mostly among adolescents
and adults. Although flow is experienced when working and studying
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1997), research shows that adolescents most frequently experience
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flow in nonacademic activities such as sports, art, music, and socializing
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1997; Fredricks, Alfeld-Liro, & Eccles, 1999; Massimini & Carli,
1988). Nonetheless, Csikszentmihalyi (1982) reports that in ongoing studies of adults,
one third of their most enjoyable times are spent with intrinsically motivating
activities. Half of that third involves learning of some sort whether it is trying out a
new recipe or learning a new language. Csikszentmihalyi (1999) states that because
flow involves a balance between challenge and skill, it captures that essence of what
makes learning fun. Although the notion that learning is fun has remained largely
elusive to researchers, they have found evidence of flow in many activities in which
adults and adolescents participate.
Flow is subjectively experienced and seems to conceptually overlap with
intrinsic motivation, interest, self-concept as competence, and self-concept as growth.
Although studies demonstrate that flow is universally experienced, flow is less often
experienced during learning. Several reasons that may account for this are that (a)
learning environments do not often create an optimal challenge-to-skill balance, (b)
few studies have specifically focused on learning and flow, and (c) flow experienced
during learning is qualitatively different than flow experienced during other kinds of
activities. In spite of these shortcomings, as mentioned above, Csikszentmihalyi
(1982) argues that 15% of the best everyday experiences occur in the context of
learning (p. 175). Flow is a positive subjective experience defined as part of passion
(Fredricks, Alfeld-Liro, & Eccles, 1999; Neumann, 1999). Thus, one may infer that
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those who have a love or passion for learning are very likely to experience flow when
they learn and are also likely to experience more flow when learning than those who
do not have a great love of learning.
Interest
Love of learning develops from ones discovered interests. Educators and
psychologists have implied, over the last 100 years, that a connection between
interests and the love of learning exists. Dewey (1913) was persuaded that true
interest was the means through which individuals developed or became themselves.
He believed that it was useful to employ interests to educate a child pointing out that
in learning these things [interests] human offspring are brought to the need of
learning other things, and also to acquiring a habit of learning a love of learning
(p. 67). Thus, he provided some initial connectivity between the constructs of love of
learning and interest. In mid-century Arnold (1956) also drew a relationship between
interest and love of learning. Referring to love of learning as the desire to know, she
argued that a desire to know is innate but continues to develop over time. She
believed that once a childs interest is aroused, other problems related to schooling,
such as discipline, and so on, diminish.
In order to map the relationship between interest and the love of learning,
some historical background of interest will be presented. Second, the current
theoretical definitions for interest are provided. Next, that portion of the interest
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research hypothesized to relate to the love of learning is defined and reviewed. The
notion of interest has been around for a couple hundred years. Scholars, however,
hold different perspectives regarding what interest is and how to study it. How did
these various views of interest develop?
Historical Background
Early in the nineteenth century Herbart (1806/1977) developed a philosophy
of interest and early in the twentieth century Dewey (1913) introduced a theory of
education which connected interest and learning. Both Herbart and Dewey brought
out the idea that interest relates to lifelong learning and the self-initiated learning for
mastery, from which satisfaction is derived. However, much of the early interest
research grew out of vocational interest research (Holland, 1976; Walsh & Osipow,
1986) of the 1950s and 1960s (Schiefele, Krapp, & Winteler, 1992). Then in the mid
and late 20th century interest research waned as behaviorism waxed. Research on
interest did not disappear, rather interest research was subsumed within similar terms
such as attention (Eysenck, 1982), curiosity (Berlyne, 1960), emotion (Izard, 1970),
attitude (Evans, 1971), value orientation (Allport, Vernon, Lindzay, 1960),
motivation including achievement motivation (Atkinson & Raynor, 1974), intrinsic
motivation (Day, 1971, Deci, 1975, Deci & Ryan, 1985), and flow (Czikszentmihalyi,
1975). The labyrinth of intereconnections among these constructs exists today.
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Lately, interest has developed as a broad explanatory concept including both
motivation and cognition (Hidi, 1990, Krapp, Hidi, & Renninger, 1992; Renninger,
1984, Schiefele, Winteler, & Krapp, 1988). In fact, Schiefele, Krapp, and Winteler
(1992) refer to interest as cognitive motivation. Traditionally however, interest has
been researched as either individual or situational interest, reflecting the person-
environment interaction which characterizes interest behaviors. As such, interest has
two foci: influence of individual interests as topic-specific preferences and the effect
of interesting environmental factors that trigger a specific situational interest in the
learner (Nenninger, 1992). A third foci, topic interest, which combines individual and
situational interest, emerged at the turn of this century. Whether individual,
situational, or topic interest, both motivation and cognition are involved in the person-
environment interaction.
Theoretical Definitions
Most researchers acknowledge that interest originates from some form of
person-environment interaction. However, some researchers focus on the former and
others on the latter. The former is called individual interest whereas the latter is called
situational interest. Individual interest may be conceived of as a disposition or as a
personality trait. Situational interest occurs when a state of interest is aroused by
features in environment (Hidi, Renninger, & Krapp, 1992). However, topic interest
recently appeared on the radar screen as a third type of interest. Topic interest
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includes aspects of both individual and situational interest (Ainley, Hidi, Bemdorff,
2002). These distinctions are useful for organizing interest research, but how are the
several foci characterized?
On one side of the coin, individual interests are usually defined as relatively
enduring preferences for certain topics, subject areas, or activities (Renninger, 1990;
Schiefele, 1990; Schiefele, 1992). The activity may be narrow, as in tennis, or broad,
as in athletics (Deci, 1992). However, Deci (1992) indicates that the more broadly
one defines dispositional interest, the more broad can be the outcomes one predicts
(p. 50). Some authors define interest as simply an attitude (Evans, 1971; Gardner,
1975). Others say that dispositional interest includes attitudes, values, self-concept,
effectance, and origin motivation (Todt & Schreiber, 1998), implying that interests
are inherently part of the personality.
Individual interest has been conceived of as part of ones personality in terms
of orientations, valuations, and awareness of possibilities (Prenzel, 1992). Because
interests have personal significance, they become integrated into ones value system
and even become components of ones self-concept. In addition to the positive
feelings associated with interest, and the cognitive value the person ascribes to the
object of interest, interest also has an intrinsic character (Schiefele, 1992; 1998).
Learning about something is undertaken for its own sake rather than an external
reason.
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Renninger and her colleagues (Krapp, Hidi and Renninger, 1992; Renninger,
1987) argue that in addition to valuation, individual interest implies an accumulation
of stored knowledge about the object or activity of interest. They further specify
interest as the relationship between a class of objects and an individual to include
stored knowledge and value of which the person may not entirely aware. For these
reasons, scholars characterize individual interest as a disposition or personality trait.
On the other side of the coin, situational interest is defined by characteristics
of a learning environment. Situational stimuli arouse an emotional or actualized state
in the individual. This may be temporary or, by engaging in various activities, may
become a more enduring or dispositional interest (Anderson, Shirey, Wilson, &
Fielding, 1987; Hidi, 1990; Krapp, Hidi, Renninger, 1992).
Hidi (1990) says that situational interest is most frequently researched as text
comprehension and learning, usually in the form of text-based interest. Text-based
interest is a specific form of situational interest generated by reading interesting
sentences across subjects. This interest results from textual features as well as the
individual readers of the text. Research shows that interesting text and stories
motivate individuals to read and influence comprehension and learning.
Topic interest recently emerged in the literature to account for overlapping
conceptual boundaries and rather a lack of distinctiveness between individual and
situational interest. Bergin (1999) suggested that, it is not useful or accurate to claim
that a particular factor is purely personal or purely situational (p. 89). Hidi (1990)
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pointed out that individual and situational interest interact and influence each others
development. Thus, topic interest is defined as the result of individual and situational
interest interaction (Ainley, Hidi, Berdorff, 2002; Renninger, 2000). However, topic
interest is considered a form of individual interest because of its relatively enduring
evaluative orientation toward certain topics (Ainley, Hidi, Berdorff, 2002).
Interest, whether individual, situational, or topical is motivational. The two
motivation theories most frequently referred to in the literature are expectancy-value
theory and intrinsic motivation theory. Expectancy-value theory states that
individuals will engage in activities they find interesting and value but will persist in
activities where they experience success (Pintrich & Schunk, 1996). Intrinsic
motivation involves engaging an object, task, or activity for the inherent enjoyment
that accrues while doing so. Deci (1980) believes that interest is implicit in intrinsic
motivation and that flow and undivided interest are also intrinsic motivations.
Schiefele (1998) suggests that rather than expectancy-value where expectancy implies
more external consequences, interest may be considered activity-value motivation,
where there is flow, intrinsic motivation, and other affective states. This perspective
provides a synthesis of the motivation theories underpinning the concept of interest.
That aspect of interest pertaining to love of learning is interest in learning.
Ainley (1998) states that a students general motivational orientation to learning can
be viewed as interest in learning. (p 258). Ainley further distinguishes individual
interest in learning as a domain defined in terms of increasing knowledge,
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information, and understanding. She and her colleagues define individual interest in
learning as a desire to acquire new information, to find out about new objects,
events, and ideas not restricted to any narrow domain. This may involve approaching
and acquiring information about something novel or it may involve seeking new
information concerning something the student already knows about (p. 546, Ainley,
Hidi, & Bemdorff, 2002).
Difficulty in interpreting the research literature on interest occurs for several
reasons. One, the conceptual distinctions among individual, situational, and topic
interest are blurred. Two, the theoretical underpinnings of cognition, affect, and
motivation have not been clearly established. Three, interest is theoretically
interrelated with a number of other researchable constructs. The section of this field
of research that particularly pertains to love of learning is interest in learning.
Scholars suggest that a general interest in learning may be an important component in
the love of learning (Bergin, 1999; Krapp, Hidi, & Renninger, 1992). However, this
area of research has not been explored widely. What follows is a summary of research
relevant to a general interest in learning.
Research
Typically, results of research demonstrate that those who are interested in
particular activities pay closer attention, persist for longer, learn more, and enjoy
more (Hidi & Bemdorff, 1998; Hidi & Harackiewicz, 2000; Prenzel, 1992;
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Renninger, 1989, 1990; Schiefele, 1991; 1998). Some research has documented a
relationship between interest and achievement. Some research has shown
relationships among depth of interest, depth of learning, and satisfaction with
learning. Finally, some research has revealed a love of academic learning factor.
Taken together, interest in learning, academic or otherwise, indicates a possible love-
of-leaming trait.
Interest in learning usually is assessed with achievement. Schiefele, Krapp,
and Winteler (1992) conducted a meta-analysis of 121 studies and found reported
correlations between interest and achievement ranging from .09 to .67. Most
correlations were in the .2 to .4 range. Krapp, Hidi, and Renninger (1992) conclude
that the relationship between individual interest and academic achievement at best is
.3, but is a function of gender, school subject, and age/grade level. However, a
positive correlation between interest and achievement may not tell the entire story.
Other variables may be involved.
Prenzel (1992) studied 27 college-aged students who reported their
enjoyment, flow, and sense of competence for computers and guitars. Participants
with higher levels of interest, assessed as persistence, also experienced higher levels
of enjoyment, flow, and sense of competence. Though interest in computers or guitars
is not the same as a general interest in learning, Prenzels results reveal the process
and experience of interest in general. Thus, Prenzels findings are consonant with the
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definition of love of learning although not specifically focused on a general interest in
learning.
Ainley (1998) conducted several longitudinal studies of females by
administering the depth-of-interest curiosity scale (Ainley, 1986), quality of school
life scales, and Learning Process Questionnaires (LPQ) (Biggs, 1987) at the 7th, 9th,
and 11th grade level. Those who changed in their depth-of-interest (DOI) scores, also
scored differently on the quality of school life scales, and the LPQ. Differences
between the two groups were significant. Those who maintained high levels of depth
of interest were also satisfied with the quality of their schooling, and tended to score
higher on the deep and achievement oriented learning scales of the LPQ. Likewise,
those students whose DOI showed less satisfaction with schooling, tended to score
higher on surface-oriented learning scale. More recently, Ainley and her colleagues
(Ainly, Hidi, & Bemdorff, 2002) examined several mediating processes between
interest and learning. They found that topic interest related to affective response,
affect to persistence, and persistence to learning (p. 545). They found that individual
interest in learning was positively and significantly related to several mediating
variables in three of the four topics. Although they were unable to explore a full
model of contingencies, Ainley and her colleagues research implies that interest in
learning is related to deeper learning and a satisfaction with the learning experience.
Her studies tie together the interest, positive affect, and achievement threads of
interest in learning research.
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Ainley and her colleagues are developing an interest-in-leaming construct.
However, her construct is very strongly defined by Berlynes definition of curiosity.
On the other hand, other researchers have discovered a specific academic interest
factor. Caracosta and Michael (1986) developed the Dimensions of Self-Concept
(DOSC) instrument and administered it to 239 undergraduate college students.
Though the sample size was small, a factor analysis confirmed five subscales. One
factor was labeled Academic Interest and Satisfaction. Michael, Smith, & Michael
(1989) defined the academic interest and satisfaction factor as follows:
portrays the sheer love of learning and pleasure gained by students in
doing academic work and in studying new subject matter; an affective
state much like that realized by the dedicated scholar who gains
tremendous satisfaction in working in the library, in reading great
books, in writing research papers, and in conceptualizing new theories
or explanations for observed phenomena an intrinsic motivation
involving learning for its own sake (Michael, Smith, & Michael,
1989, p. 2).
Caracosta and Michael (1986) found significance between this factor and self-report
estimates of past and future grades, and specific grades in the class. These
correlations further affirm the relationship between interest in learning and
achievement as well as portray academic interest as including an affective state.
This particular construct appeared again in developing the Studies Attitudes
and Methods Scale (SAMS) (Michael, Denny, Ireland-Galman, and Michael, 1986).
SAMS has six scales. Each scale has five subscales with five items each. SAMS was
administered to 181 community college students. A principal components analysis
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identified five factors. One of the five factors was the Academic Interest love of
learning scale. The authors note that this factor defines a separate dimension but also
shares some variance with the general trait indicative of a positive orientation to study
effort. They defined this factor similarly to the definition for Academic Interest and
Satisfaction in the DOSC. Thus, there is some statistical evidence of an interest-in-
leaming factor, although the factor uncovered using these two instruments has a
particularly academic focus.
Research sheds light on interest in learning, and thus to some extent, the love
of learning. However, conceptual definitions overlap to such an extent that it is
difficult to see the forest for the trees. How can these overlapping meanings be
characterized?
Relationship of Interest to Other
Love of Learning Constructs
The complexity of theories and research on interest in learning comes from
the interconnected web of similar constructs. Researchers (Todt & Schreiber, 1998;
Schiefele, 1998) occasionally refer to curiosity, intrinsic motivation, flow, and sense
of competence synonymously with interest. Sheifele, Krapp, and Winteler (1992)
state that interest has been used interchangeably with terms such as intrinsic
motivation, subject-related affect, attitude, and cognitive motivation (p. 189). Bergin
(1999), who noted that a key to nurturing the appreciation for learning is catching and
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holding interest, identified attention, curiosity, and engagement as synonyms of
interest. How may these constructs be distinguished?
The strongest overlap seems to be with interest and curiosity. For example,
Ainley (1986; 1987; 1998; Ainley, Hidi, & Bemdorff, 2002) believes there are strong
connections between curiosity and interest. She administered 12 subscales from five
measures of curiosity to 227 college students. The factor analysis she conducted
showed two factors, which she labeled depth and breadth of interest (Ainley, 1986;
1987). In 2002 Ainley, Hidi, and Bemdorff defined depth-of-interest curiosity as
general interest in learning. However, Hidi and Anderson (1992) suggest specific
differences between curiosity and interest. They point to Berlynes (1974) research
with collative variables (novelty, complexity, surprisingness, ambiguity, variability).
The relationships between the collative variables and curiosity look like an inverted
U, whereas the relationship between the collative variables and interest is monotonic.
Hidi (1990) notes that life themes and character idenfitification are interesting but are
not collative variables. As constructs, curiosity and interest overlap but are not the
same.
Second in overlap strength is intrinstic motivation and interest. As previously
indicated, intrinsic motivation provides some the theoretical foundation for interest.
Deci (1998) states that interest is implicit in intrinsic motivation and that intrinsic
motivation occurs because an activity is interesting. Additionally, Hamilton, Haier,
and Buchsman (1984) characterize intrinsic enjoyment as intense involvement,
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interest, and and absorbed conentration. Research by Todt and Schreiber (1998)
shows that intrinsic motivation is very similar to interest. However, Rheinberg (1998)
points out that interest is activity-indifferent because many activities may bring a
person in touch with an object or area of interest. Intrinsic motivation, however, is the
desire to perform an activity and is inherent in the activity itself, with or without an
object of interest. Therefore, Hidi and Harackiewicz (2000) suggest that the two
constructs are recursively related to each other, one building on the other and so forth.
The two constructs seem closely connected although they are not the same. Appendix
B shows some of the various definitions for curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and
interest.
Often people believe that interest is the same as liking. However, Hidi &
Anderson (1992) distinguish between them. Berlyne (1974) found that liking reached
a peak at intermediate levels of uncertainty forming a curvilinear relationship whereas
interestingness increased linearly with uncertainty and did not decline. Iran-Nejad
(1987) found that surprise endings to stories do not affect liking but do affect
interestingness. He also showed that the outcome valence (goodness, badness) of a
story influences liking but not interestingness. Thus, interest in learning is different
than liking to learn.
In summary, among the overlapping constructs that comprise love of learning,
interest seems related to but different than curiosity and intrinsic motivation.
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Additionally interest is not same as liking. Thus, interest in learning offers a unique
aspect to the love of learning construct.
Summary
Interest in learning involves motivation, affect, cognition, and may be
portrayed as individual interest. Interest in learning seems to relate to curiosity and
intrinsic motivation. Research suggests that such a trait exists, and results in deeper
learning. Individual interest in learning is hypothesized to be an aspect of love of
learning.
Theorists, however, believe that this aspect is rare. Voss and Schauble (1992)
suggest that love of learning is the exception rather than the rule when they say some
individuals may want to learn for the sake of learning, although typically learning is
related to a more particular goal or interest (p. 105). Additionally, Hidi and
Harackiewicz (2000) note that all children have interests, motivation to explore, to
engage, but not all children have academic interests and motivation to learn to the
best of their abilities in school (p. 168). Thus, love of learning may be
conceptualized as a dispositional trait that includes a specific interest in learning.
Some theorists focus on how self-concept is involved in interest in learning.
William James (1890) noted that each of us literally chooses, by his way of
attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit (p.
424). DeGarmo (1902) stated that
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interest is a feeling that accompanies the idea of self-expression. It has
its origin in the exhilaration, the sense of power, of mastery, that goes
with every internally impelled effort to realize a condition for the
survival of the self, whether such survival touch one aspect of the man
or another (p. 18).
Dewey (1913) noted that genuine interest indicates personal identification with a
course of action. Deci (1998) believes that intrinsic motivation and interest are
inherent in an innate self, which seeks to develop or actualize. Hannover (1998) states
that the development of self-concept and interests mutually influence each other (p.
117). Is there are relationship?
Self-concept in Terms of Competence,
Growth and Complexity, and Meaning and Purpose
The third circle of the conceptual framework for the love of learning construct
involves self-concept in terms of effectance, growth and complexity, and meaning
and purpose. Defining a disposition such as love of learning is difficult without
addressing how such a disposition pertains to ones self. For scores of years scholars
have been not only describing constructs such as curiosity, interest, intrinsic
motivation, and flow in terms of ones self or perception of oneself, but have
extended their writing, as well, to what the self or self-concept might be. Allport
(1955) for example, describes functional autonomy and propriate striving. DeCharms
(1968) and Heider (1958) outline personal causality and causation. Csikszentmihalyi
(1985; 1993) expounds on the increasing complexity of self. Maslow (1943,1967)
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defines self-actualization. For the love of learning conceptual framework, self-
concept in terms of competence, growth, and purpose represents an organizing
principle. As such it provides the who and why of love of learning as the other
constructs, i.e. curiosity, intrinsic motivation, interest, and flow, provide the
behavioral, cognitive, and affective manifestations of the what and how of love of
learning. In this section self-concept will be defined. In the following sections, the
fields of research relating to competence, growth, and purpose will be reviewed.
Self-concept
Maslow (1968/1982) defined self-concept as the ongoing actualization of
potential, capabilities, and talents, as fulfillment of mission, as a fuller knowledge and
acceptance of the persons own intrinsic nature, as a trend toward integration within a
person. Bandura (1977a) defined self-concept as an evaluative component where a
negative self-concept is a proneness to devalue oneself and a positive self-concept
was a tendency to favorably judge oneself. Marsh and Shavelson (1985) broadly
defined self-concept as a persons perception of him- or herself formed through
interpretations of ones experiences, including evaluations by significant others.
However, they believe that self-concept is multifaceted because people tend to
categorize information they have about themselves and relate these categories to one
another. Although scholars tend to agree with the multifaceted nature of self-concept,
defining specific facets has remained problematic. Marsh and Shavelson believe that
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self-concept may be divided into academic self-concept and non-academic self-
concept, where academic subjects comprise academic self-concept and social,
emotional, and physical self-concepts comprise non-academic self-concept. Michael,
Smith, and Michael (1989) developed a self-report inventory consisting of five
school-related factors of self-concept. The factors include level of aspiration, anxiety,
academic interest and satisfaction, leadership and initiative, and identification versus
alienation. The factor the authors define as academic interest and satisfaction
partially coincides with Marsh and Shavelsons academic self-concept as well as with
the love of learning construct. The authors define this factor as follows:
portrays the sheer love of learning and pleasure gained by students in
doing academic work and in studying new subject matter, an affective
state much life that realized by the dedicated scholar who gains
tremendous satisfaction in working in the library, in reading great
books, in writing research papers, and in conceptualizing new theories
or explanations for observed phenomena an intrinsic motivation
involving learning for its own sake (p. 2).
Other than this conceptual coincidence, the love of learning self-concept in term of
competence, growth, and meaningfulness does not fit well within Marsh and
Shavelsons hierarchy. Rather, it represents self-concept across all categories because
some manner of learning can and does take place across all the proposed categories.
In this study self-concept is conceived of as having three aspects relevant to
the love of learning construct. The three aspects are competence, growth and
83