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As a more specific version of my previous question, I'd like to know if an interest in anything can be developed in any person. Let us assume the person has the following:

  • Sufficient motivation to become interested in the subject at hand.
  • The correct mindset toward interests. As in, the person appreciates that interest is not fixed, but can be developed and changed over time.
  • No misconceptions pertaining to the interest being developed. For example, someone not wanting to become interested in a field because of the stereotypes about people working in that field.

My question is, then, assuming these points, can any person develop an interest in any field/activity?

For my own research toward this problem, I found "Interest - The Curious Emotion" by Paul Silvia. He says that interest arises if a subject appraises something as being novel, complex, and comprehensible. This doesn't seem to cover the whole story, as it is fairly easy to come up with examples where despite making those appraisals, a subject does not develop interest.

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  • $\begingroup$ How would you (ethically) study this? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 8 '20 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps a study could be formed by asking individuals in the later stages of life how many separate interests they have enjoyed? A wide diversity of interests could be interpreted as the ability to gain an interest in anything. Anecdotally, I was never interested in psychology until relatively late in life. My interest was borne out of a pressing need to understand personality. $\endgroup$
    – Tony Mobbs
    Sep 8 '20 at 1:24

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