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Modern Psychological Studies

Periodical Title

Modern Psychological Studies

Volume

17

Number

2

Page Numbers

pages 27-35

Department

Dept. of Psychology

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Date

2012

Abstract

One of the most powerful ways to boost learning is to require students to self-explain—to generate written or verbal explanations of their study material as they are studying. Although self-explaining is known to enhance learning across a wide range of ages and study materials, this empirical work has focused almost exclusively on optimal study conditions. Here we explore if selfexplaining is similarly effective in the presence of background music, a distraction students commonly elect to incorporate into their study routines. In the first study, 32 university students were asked to learn about neuronal action potentials while we varied both self-explaining and the presence of loud background music. Results indicated self-explaining enhanced learning during silent study but actually impaired learning while listening to loud background music. To determine a threshold for this interaction, a second experiment was conducted (N=64) in which the music variable was manipulated at 4 levels: silent, quiet, moderate, and loud. We found increasing music volume impaired learning overall, and that this effect was particularly pronounced when students were instructed to self-explain. Overall, self-explaining is a powerful but potentially brittle learning technique, one which may not mesh well with common study habits.

Subject

Psychology--Periodicals

Keyword

self-explanation effect; study habits; metacognitive strategy

Discipline

Psychology

Document Type

articles

Extent

9 leaves

Language

English

Call Number

BF1 .M63 v. 17 no. 2 2012

Rights

Under copyright.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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