Sketching and summarizing to reduce memory for seductive details in science text.

Seductive details refers to interesting pieces of information within an expository text that are only tangentially related to the target concept (Garner, Gillingham, & White, 1989). When the presence of this information results in reduced comprehension, this is called the seductive details effect. Previous work has found the seductive details effect to be resistant to reduction via various instructional manipulations. One avenue that has not been investigated as a tool for reducing the seductive details effect is having students generate sketches. A growing body of research suggests that sketching activities are beneficial for science learning and, moreover, that sketching can improve learning from science text (Ainsworth, Prain, & Tytler, 2011; Van Meter, 2001). The goal of the present research was to investigate the impact of sketching as compared to generating summaries or thinking silently on recall and comprehension of a text that included seductive details. Across two studies, the seductive details effect was replicated; generating sketches did not eliminate it. In Experiment 2, students compared their sketches and summaries to correct ones and were asked to identify differences between them. Results indicated that participants in the summary group recalled the most core concepts and demonstrated the highest comprehension. These results suggest that sketching may not be effective for eliminating the seductive details and that having students generate summaries with feedback may be more successful. These findings inform the design of scaffolding to support learning from naturalistic science text with its distracting details. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)