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Structural and dynamic aspects of interest development: theoretical considerations from an ontogenetic perspective

Learning and Instruction Volume 12, Number 4 ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Empirical research on the development of individual interests is mostly concerned with the analysis of developmental trends in groups or populations. However, there is a distinct lack of theoretical constructs that describe and explain interest development from the perspective of the growing individual. This article presents a collection of theoretical concepts and models that can be used to describe and explore structural and dynamic aspects of interest development from an ontogenetic research perspective. Basic ideas of an educational–psychological conceptualization of interest are outlined that—contrary to many other conceptualizations in this field—is based on a dynamic theory of personality. Such an approach provides an opportunity to analyze and reconstruct the manifold interrelations between the changing structure of a person's pattern of interests and the developing personal “self” during ontogenesis. Exemplary selected theoretical models and ideas are presented, including the question of general stages during the course of interest development from childhood to early adulthood, models to describe and theoretically reconstruct structural changes in an individual's pattern of personal interests over a longer period of time, ideas of how to conceptualize the transition from situational to individual interest, and theoretical considerations about the structure and function of the psychological regulation-system that is assumed to be responsible for establishing and stabilizing motivational preferences. Although these concepts and considerations are not yet integrated into a coherent ontogenetic theory, they may serve as a basis for a theoretical discussion on how to achieve this aim.


Krapp, A. Structural and dynamic aspects of interest development: theoretical considerations from an ontogenetic perspective. Learning and Instruction, 12(4), 383-409. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved August 16, 2022 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on January 29, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

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