The Effects of Presentation Style on Memory and Change-Blindness Sensitivity

Rachael A. Divine, Mariam V. Balasanyan, Jennifer M. Vuong, Justin C. Latham, Robert J. Youmans*, California State University, Northridge

Full manuscript: www.kon.org/urc/v10/divine.html

Abstract Emotional regulation has become an important variable in understanding the effect emotions may have on attention and learning. In this study, 58 undergraduate students at California State University, Northridge were randomly assigned to watch one of two versions of an educational video. The information presented was identical in both versions of the educational video, but the presenter was asked to be more aggressive in one version of the presentation, and more neutral in the other. The study measured how well participants learned from each version of the video, and also how likely they were to notice surprising changes in background objects that were carefully created by the experimenters via video editing. Results indicated that the aggressive presentation had a negative effect on participants’ ability to detect changes, but no effect on their memory for the semantic content of the video.

Introduction Emotional regulation has become an important variable in understanding the effect emotions may have on attention and learning. Emotional regulation refers to the conscious or unconscious processes through which individuals alter, hide, or express their emotions (Gross, 1998). In educational settings, many teachers believe that they can create more effective learning environments through the use of emotional regulation strategies (Sutton, 2004). For example, research showed that instructors with more positive presentation styles help facilitate learning (Comstock, Rowell, & Bowers, 1995), whereas expressions of anger during teaching were often viewed as counterproductive and inhibitory to teacher-student relationships and a decrement to learning (Myers, 2002; Rocca & McCroskey, 1999; Sutton, 2004). Employees whose managers display argumentativeness, a tendency to present controversial issues during communication and advocate positions based on those issues (Infante & Rancer, 1982), reported higher job satisfaction when their superiors were perceived to be high in argumentativeness (Infante & Gorden, 1985). Similarly, instructors who were perceived to have an argumentative presentation style might increase their students’ motivation to learn (Myers, 2002).

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