Interest (emotion)

Interest is a feeling or emotion[1] that causes attention to focus on an object, event, or process. In contemporary psychology of interest,[2] the term is used as a general concept that may encompass other more specific psychological terms, such as curiosity and to a much lesser degree surprise.

The emotion of interest does have its own facial expression, of which the most prominent component is having dilated pupils.[3]

Applications in computer assisted communication and B-C interface

In 2016, an entirely new communication device and brain-computer interface was revealed, which required no visual fixation or eye movement at all, as with previous such devices. Instead, the device assesses more covert interest, that is by assessing other indicators than eye fixation, on a chosen letter on a virtual keyboard. Each letter has its own (background) circle that is micro-oscillating in brightness in different time transitions, where the determination of letter selection is based on the best fit between first, unintentional pupil-size oscillation pattern and second, the circle-in-background's brightness oscillation pattern. Accuracy is additionally improved by the user's mental rehearsing of the words 'bright' and 'dark' in synchrony with the brightness transitions of the circle/letter.[4]

Measurement of sexual interest

In social science measurement methodology, when the intensity of (sexual) interest needs to be measured, the changes in pupil size – despite its weaker, but still consistent, correlations with other measures such as self-reported measures of sexual interest's orientation – have been proposed as its appropriate measure.[5]

See also


  1. The following can be read in a review or blurb concerning Paul Silvia's Exploring the Psychology of interest: "Anyone interested in emotions will find this book on the emotion of interest immensely interesting! If you are among those who question the status of interest as an emotion, this book will convince you. This very real emotion not only exists, but also plays a major role in shaping our lives. This book goes a long way toward documenting what I have long believed. Of all the emotions, interest has the greatest long-term impact across the life span."--Carroll E. Izard, PhD, Trustees Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware
  2. Silvia, Paul (2006) Exploring the Psychology of Interest. University of Oxford
  3. "We cannot help but reveal our interest in (and attraction to) others through the size of our pupils."--Satoshi Kanazawa, PhD, an evolutionary psychologist, Reader in Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology at University College London, and in the Department of Psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London, in his blog Scientific Fundamentalist
  4. Mathôt S, Melmi J-B, van der Linden L, Van der Stigchel S (2016) The Mind-Writing Pupil: A Human-Computer Interface Based on Decoding of Covert Attention through Pupillometry. Public Library of Science ONE 11(2): e0148805. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148805
  5. Rieger, Gerulf; Savin-Williams RC (2012) The Eyes Have It: Sex and Sexual Orientation Differences in Pupil Dilation Patterns. Public Library of Science ONE 7(8): e40256. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040256 San Francisco
  6. Angel, Manjani. Knowing. Angeloyama.
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