Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Is the seductive details effect moderated by mood? An eye‐tracking study

Summary

According to the seductive details (SD) effect, interesting, but irrelevant information in learning materials reduces learning outcomes. Basic research suggests that subjects in positive mood are more distractible by task‐irrelevant stimuli than subjects in negative mood. Hence, mood could moderate the SD effect. We tested this assumption by comparing eye movements to seductive pictures in participants in positive versus negative mood. As expected, participants in positive mood fixated pictures longer and more frequently than participants in negative mood, which can be interpreted in terms of mood‐based higher distractibility. However, this did not translate to a more pronounced SD effect in the learning test. Unexpectedly, there was no SD effect in either mood condition. We discuss implications of the eye‐tracking data as well as potential reasons for the nonexistent SD effect in our study.

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