The lure of seductive details during lecture learning.

Research demonstrates that seductive details negatively impact learning from instructional materials such as textbooks and learning modules. Yet, anecdotally, teachers and students consider seductive details an enhancement to classroom lectures. We examined this apparent disconnect by exploring the impact of seductive details in mathematics lecture learning as a function of prior knowledge across 2 affective contexts: low-stakes learning and high-stakes learning. Undergraduate students viewed a video lecture on matrix algebra with or without seductive details either in a low-stakes or high-stakes learning environment. The high stakes were designed to mimic common classroom accountability for learning and were removed prior to the final test. On the final test, seductive details were generally detrimental in the low-stakes, but not high-stakes, learning environment. However, this effect was moderated by students’ prior knowledge. Students with higher prior knowledge were not impacted by seductive details in either high- or low-stakes learning environments. In contrast, students with lower prior knowledge–those most in need of pedagogical assistance–learned more when seductive details were included in a high-stakes lecture environment. These results suggest that seductive details may not be as detrimental as previously concluded, and may even be beneficial in an incentivized learning environment for students who have the most to learn. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)