Defining Interestingness

I read this post a LONG, long time ago, and returned to it (rather serendipitously) in a search for a few articles to put into an universal digital syllabus.

Interestingness might not be the most important thing, but it has to rank pretty highly:

“My short definition of interesting is ‘worth thinking about.’ Something is interesting to the extent that, even in its absence, you continue to replay it, develop it, compare it, communicate it, translate it, share stories about it, laugh at jokes about it, use it to understand other things, have an opinion about it, imagine variations on it, seek further information about it, want to communicate with it and with others who also find it interesting.”

Put this next to the reasons people share and you’ve got a pretty good toolkit going.

See what I’m talking about.


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. If you stick your nose into academic research on the topic, you’ll find a good deal of it centered around work from the 1960′s on conflict, curiosity, and arousal by behaviorist Daniel Berlyne of the University of Toronto. (see his book Conflict, Arousal, and Curiosity)

    Berlyne detailed what he called his collative variables – novelty, complexity, uncertainty, and conflict – that give rise to interest. Berlyne believed that something new and uncertain is interesting only if it represents a problem to be solved. Furthermore, he believed that too much uncertainty could dissuade exploration and problem solving, just as too little uncertainty could result in boredom.

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