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Does the Seductive Details Effect Generalize to Depleting Study Situations?

Mon, April 20, 8:15 to 9:45am, Virtual Room


Do seductive details (i.e., interesting but irrelevant adjuncts) restore positive affect, and thereby facilitate sustained attention and performance if students are (1) aware of the details’ irrelevance and (2) prone to become unmotivated during prolonged studying after a preceding depletion task? A study (N = 193) with presence of seductive details (no-seductive-details vs. uninformed-seductive-details vs. informed-seductive-details) and degree of depletion (low vs. high) as between-subject factors revealed that seductive details impeded learning only when the learners were uninformed about their irrelevance. Surprisingly, seductive details did not improve, but rather decreased performance in the final phase of prolonged studying. Thus, the seductive details effect seems to generalize to prolonged study situations, but depends on the details’ perceived relevance.