Motivating Students: An Initial Attempt to Operationalize the Curiosity Gap Model


  • James W. Gentry
  • Alvin C. Burns
  • Sanjay Putrevu
  • Yu Hongyan
  • Laura A. Williams
  • Thomas Bare
  • Ruth Ann Gentry


Gentry and Burns (1996) and Burns and Gentry (1998) attempted to incorporate Loewenstein's (1994) Curiosity Gap Model into a theory of the motivation of students in class settings. This paper attempts to measure the curiosity gap and then relate it to student performance measures. The preliminary results reported here come from only one small (n=16) class; however, much larger data collections are in progress and will be included in the presentation in San Diego. The preliminary results indicate support for the Gap Model, and lead us to conclude that instructors should actively attempt to manage the level of the curiosity gap.