Previous studies have shown that task-irrelevant information impedes learning by creating extraneous cognitive load. But still open is whether such intrusion reflects a purely semantic phenomenon or whether it also stands for sheer perceptual interference. Using Cognitive Load Theory as a framework, this study aimed to answer this question by examining whether and how task-irrelevant colour information modifies extraneous cognitive load in relation to a new code-learning paradigm. For this purpose, university students were asked to learn, based on an example, associations between colour-related and colour-unrelated words and digits presented in black or in a mismatched ink colour. Evident costs in learning efficacy were found in learning the associations between words and digits for colour-related, but not for colour-unrelated, word stimuli. This suggests that interference by task-irrelevant information in learning stands for a mere semantic conflict. Implications of the findings for extraneous cognitive load on learning efficacy are discussed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Experimental Psychology Society 2018.
- cognitive load theory
- extraneous cognitive load
- task-irrelevant information
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Psychology (all)
- Physiology (medical)