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Exposure to information increases motivation to learn more.

  • Author(s): Ditta, Annie S
  • Strickland-Hughes, Carla M
  • Cheung, Cecilia
  • Wu, Rachel
  • et al.

Low motivation to learn in undergraduate general education courses hinders learning. Research has identified strategies that increase motivation to learn before students are asked to learn content (e.g., outlining the utility of the course material for future careers). Extending this work, we propose that learning any material in a course may beget motivation to learn more, in line with the notion that the process of learning itself may spark curiosity and interest. Across three populations (college-aged individuals on mTurk, large public university students, and small private university students), we found that watching a TED Talk video (i.e., exposure to new information, learning) pertaining to any topic led to an increase in motivation to continue learning about that topic and other topics more generally. These results reveal a need to broaden models of motivation to consider the importance of exposure to content to increase motivation to learn.

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