The richer, the better? Effects of combining seductive and interpretational visuals in computer-based learning

Zhe Wang, Sara Abercrombie, Rachel Wong, Yuxin Ren, Shiting Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are two major types of pictures that have been the focus of multimedia learning research, namely, seductive and interpretational pictures. Despite an increasing body of literature documenting the effects of either seductive or interpretational pictures added to text-based materials, there is a paucity of research explicitly comparing them in a multimedia learning environment. Objectives: To address this gap, this study manipulated the picture condition by designing seductive pictures (SPs), interpretational pictures (IPs), and seductive plus interpretational pictures (SIPs) and investigated the multimedia effects of SPs, IPs, and SIPs on several cognitive and affective-motivational variables. Methods: Two computer-based experiments were conducted where a scientific text about the blood circulatory system was presented with SPs, IPs, or SIPs. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions, and completed a subsequent learning test (comprehension and transfer questions) as well as a survey measuring their learning experience. Results and Conclusions: The results of the two experiments were consistent in showing that our experimental manipulation was unsuccessful in influencing the learning outcome variables. Nevertheless, learning with seductive plus interpretational pictures appeared to yield better judgement accuracy, as compared to learning with seductive or interpretational pictures only. Most educational practitioners still include decorative elements based on their impression of aesthetics of motivation; this study encourages them to use these elements within their learning materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)812-823
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • comprehension
  • interpretational pictures
  • judgement accuracy
  • seductive pictures
  • transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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