I have spoken about mystery and the like in the past and you would be forgiven for thinking that uncertainty sits in a similar space. The difference is that mystery or surprise are designed and deliberate.
In this instance I am defining uncertainty as “The lack of certainty. A state of having limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe the existing state, a future outcome, or more than one possible outcome.” 1
Uncertainty can be both negative and positive. As with mystery, sometime snot knowing all the details leads to a healthy curiosity and motivates you into “opening the box” (though that didn’t work out so well for Pandora…). There has be research done on how uncertainty can actually boost motivation as well. A paper called “The Motivating Uncertainty Effect” 2 This study showed that if people were given a limited amount of information about the reward they would receive, it could actually boost motivation.