Applied Cognitive Psychology

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

The influence of background music on learners with varying extraversion: Seductive detail or beneficial effect? (pages 85-94)

Summary Seductive details in general affect learning and cognitive load negatively. However, especially background music as a seductive detail may also influence the learner's arousal, whose optimal level depends on the learner's extraversion. Therefore, the effects of extraversion and background music on learning outcomes, cognitive load, and arousal were investigated. We tested 167 high school students and found better transfer outcomes for the group with background music. They also reported higher germane load, but no impact of background music on extraneous cognitive load or arousal was found. In the group without background music, learners with higher extraversion reached better recall scores, which was not found in the group with background music. Results may cautiously be interpreted that there is a beneficial impact of background music that compensates for the disadvantages of low extraverted learners and which cannot be explained through arousal.

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