The effect of task relevance instructions on memory for text with seductive details

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Seductive details in text are interesting but unimportant text segments. Although seductive details can make expository text more interesting, they do not necessarily promote learning of main ideas. This study investigated whether task relevance instructions that targeted main ideas would promote memory for main ideas when students read a text with seductive details. Undergraduates (n = 102) read a text with seductive detail sentences and then did a free recall task. Before reading, participants received pre-reading questions that either targeted main ideas or seductive details, or they read for understanding. The main finding was that students in the main idea relevance instruction condition recalled main ideas better than students in the control or seductive detail relevance instruction conditions. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed, and directions for future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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