William James the popular psychologist defines 'interest as a form of selective awareness of attention
that produces meaning out of the mass of one' s experiences'
Strong speaks of interests
'as likes and labels dislikes as aversions'.
Let us look upon interests as organic conditions that result in a desire for further stimulator from a particular type of object idea or experiences.
Evidences of interests in the form of attention can be observed in the early behaviour of infants. At first this activity is permanently biological but as perceptions occurs and concepts begin to form, the psychological component becomes more important.
The child learns to avoid those activities as unsatisfying and to repeat those that have proved to be worthwhile.
Interest, in fact form an integral aspect of personality and they are not outside personality. Interest largely means the individual' s likes or the individual' s preferences to engage himself in a particular type of work, might have other preferences to another type of work. Interests are also divided into extrinsic or intrinsic interest.
Extrinsic interest are connected with activities that gives rise to satisfaction or pleasure. Intrinsic interests are those are connected with the activity itself.
An intrinsic interest centered on the activity itself is more basic or real interest. However the differentiation is not easy. Sometimes an interest may be intrinsic or sometimes it may be extrinsic.
eg Playing volleyball or basketball for sake of playing is an intrinsic interest.
The individual desires pleasure from it. Playing the same games to earn a reward or trophy or title is an extrinsic interest. Interests are not like aptitude. They are required by the individual in the course of his development.
Some interest may be present at one time and disappear at another. Rarely does an individual' s interest last long. However certain basic interest seems to last long for a lifetime.
An interest is not permanent. it is acquired during the lifetime and it may be modified. At school, we expect the pupils to be interested in reading books, playing games etc.
When they grow up and enter working life, some may keep the interest of reading and some may keep the interest of playing.
Interests provide useful information for guidance in education and vocational areas. There are a number of psychological test to assess or measure interests.
The most well known highly sophisticated instrument is Strong ' s vocational interest blank. This is in two forms one for men and another for women.
Strong approached different occupational group, such as physician, surgeon, scientists, university teachers, schoolteachers, lawyers, accountants, engineers etc.
More than three hundred occupational group were considered and from each individual be obtained a list of interests and activities the individual liked and disliked. Another tool is used to access interest is Kuder' s preference record. (KRP).
The interests which were rated high by a particular occupational groups were called the interests on mechanical, computational, scientific, persuasive etc.
Interpretation of test result is to be made on the basis of appropriate norms provided in the concerned manual. The highest score indicates the important interest and the lowest least important interest area.
The guidance worker with the help of this objective test information obtained from achievement , aptitude , personality and interest can help the pupil to obtain a much better and deeper understanding of his personality.
The counsellor also has a better understanding of the counsellee (pupil) and thus can guide him ( pupil) better with regard to two major areas of choice namely,
what courses they may pursue or choose or
what type of or kind of job, that they may take up. Thus in the areas of educational , vocational guidance
tests of interests are of greater value.