Interest in a task is developed when interactions produce positive feedback (cognitive and emotional). Students interested in learning tasks show greater attention, recall of facts, and persistence. Positive emotional states enhance both decision-making and imagination.

The emotional state of students has a bearing on their use of learning strategies, ability to regulate their thoughts and behaviors, and overall performance. Students who experience negative emotions, such as boredom, anxiety, anger, or hopelessness, use more surface-level processing and generally have lower achievement.