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College students (N=846) enrolled in a general education course were randomly assigned to either an arousal (experimental) or no-arousal (control) group. The experimental group was exposed to a topic-relevant, 90-second external stimulus (a technique used to elevate arousal and focus attention). The control group listened to the instructor take roll. Both groups then listened to the same 30-minute lecture followed by an exam. An independent-samples t-test found a significant difference in exam scores measuring information retention between arousal (M=13.36, SD=1.5) and no-arousal (M=12.85, SD=1.4) conditions; t (844)=5.20, p < .001. Results suggest introducing a lecture with an external stimulus increases information retention.
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