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How Do Pictorial and Semantic Visuals Affect Learning From Scientific Text?

Sun, April 11, 2:30 to 3:30pm EDT (2:30 to 3:30pm EDT), Division C, Division C - Section 2a: Cognitive and Motivational Processes Roundtable Sessions


This study investigated how pictorial and semantic visuals foster different inferences. Undergraduate students (n=135) were randomly assigned to study text with a semantic visual, pictorial visual, or text-alone. Students then explained what they learned and took a post-test measuring hierarchical and temporal inferences. Explanation results indicated the semantic group generated significantly more hierarchical inferences than the other groups and there were no significant differences between the visual groups on temporal inferences. Post-test results showed the semantic group had the best performance on hierarchical items, and the pictorial group had the best performance on temporal items. Last, hierarchical inferences in explanations partially mediated visual group and hierarchical inference test performance. This suggests visual design should align with the inferences they afford.