Whether teaching or writing up research, there is a strong incentive for academics to try and make their work as interesting as possible. If people are intrigued by what they’re doing, it is likely to have a greater impact. But since everyone has their own unique take on what is or is not interesting, this can seem an impossible task.

So, we spoke to three academics to find out if there are any universal characteristics that academics could try to develop in their work that will successfully pique people’s interest.

Kurt Gray, associate professor in psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and director of the Deepest Beliefs Lab and Center for the Science of Moral Understanding, shares a beginner's guide to what makes something interesting.

Manuel Goyanes, assistant professor in the Department of Media and Communication at Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M), discusses the qualities likely to generate greater interest in research.

Emily Corwin-Renner, research scientist at the University of Tübingen’s Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology, shares insight and strategies to help teachers hold the attention of their students.


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