Capturing students' attention: An empirical student

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Erik Rosegard
Jackson Wilson


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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Rosegard, E., & Wilson, J. (2013). Capturing students’ attention: An empirical student. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 13(5), 1–20. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Erik Rosegard, San Francisco State University

Erik Rosegard, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Recreation, Parks, & Tourism

Jackson Wilson, San Francisco State University

Jackson Wilson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Recreation, Parks, & Tourism


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