We examined the influence of seductive detail sentences (i.e., highly interesting, yet unimportant sentences) on reading time and recall for readers with higher and lower verbal ability. College students (n = 81) read a 967-word text that included seductive detail sentences. Participants with higher and lower verbal ability displayed similar reading time and recall patterns across different sentence types: they spent more time reading seductive details than base sentences and more time reading base sentences that followed seductive details than the other base sentences. Further, they recalled seductive details better than base segments. Results supported the noncompensation hypothesis, which states that seductive detail sentences disrupt text processing regardless of verbal ability. The relative interest and importance of sentences should be considered when deciding whether to add information for the purpose of increasing reader interest or cognitive engagement.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language