Kole, James

Committee Member

Jameson, Molly

Committee Member

Peterson, Eric

Committee Member

Hutchinson, Susan


School of Psychological Sciences Educational Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



117 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Current advances in technology allow for a great deal of learning intervention materials to be designed by teachers. An active body of research is being conducted on how information is processed from these materials which are often created using electronic media. The design of these materials often includes interesting but irrelevant details which may detract from learning. These are termed “seductive details” and the impact of these inclusions in learning materials is not yet fully understood. Developing a better understanding of what factors play a role in the damaging effects of seductive details can help in the design of learning materials. The primary cognitive explanations to date for the impact of seductive details include working memory capacity (WMC) and distracted attention. These elements do not fully explain the variation in results from prior studies. A primary goal of this study was to explore if the emotional salience of seductive details could help explain whether and how seductive details detract from learning. This experimental study was conducted with 39 undergraduate university students. The design accounted for WMC and directly measured visual attention using eye-tracking. Eye-tracking devices allow for empirical measures of how much time a learner spends attending to seductive details versus pertinent learning materials. The study provided little evidence to suggest the seductive details used in the materials detracted from learning. The evidence suggests learners visually attend to seductive details when they are present, and they are more likely to attend to emotionally salient seductive details than neutrally valenced details.

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