Tweet: When increasing distraction helps learning

If we go by popular self help advise on distraction and learning, we will be bombarded with negative information about distraction. However, there are many studies which suggests that some times depends on context and content, distractions may be helpful in promoting learning.

This study “When increasing distraction helps learning: Distractor number and content interact in their effects on memory” finds evidence about the positive effects of distractions on learning in some cases.
The researchers looked at previous studies and also conducted experimentations to suggest the following findings:
Visual search and memory: This study investigated how varying the amount and content of distraction present in a learning environment affects visual search and subsequent memory for target items.
Previous research suggests that increasing the number of distractors in a search array can reduce interference from distractor content during target processing. (Multiple distractors may be less distracting)
Previous research also suggests that Distractor suppression underlies successful memory encoding.
The data in this study imply that increasing numbers of distractors may decrease interference from conflicting conceptual information during encoding.



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