Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Volume 33 Issue 1 (January 2019), Pages 1-148

Adding emotionality to seductive details—Consequences for learning? (pages 48-61)

Summary According to the seductive detail effect, adding interesting but irrelevant information (i.e., seductive details) can be detrimental to learning success. In this study, it was explored within two experiments whether the valence of text‐based seductive details might affect learning outcomes differently. For Experiments 1 and 2, we pretested text‐based seductive details for their emotional valence (n = 32 or n = 25 students, respectively). For the main studies of Experiments 1 (n = 105) and 2 (n = 131), university students were randomly assigned to one of four conditions that varied with respect to the presence of seductive details and their emotional valence (no vs. positive vs. negative vs. neutral). Unexpectedly, results revealed in both experiments no seductive details effect and also no differences between the three seductive detail conditions for the used learning outcome measures retention and transfer. Possible reasons for these findings and their implications are discussed.

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