• Matthew T. McCruddenEmail author
  • Montana K. McCormick
  • Erin M. McTigue


We varied the spatial features of adjunct displays that depicted a complex scientific system (i.e. human circulatory system). University students (n = 47), who were assigned randomly to a display condition before reading, selected relevant information from the text and wrote it (a) next to a list of definitions (list condition), (b) inside boxes organized to coincide with the sequence of blood flow (chart condition), or (c) on a picture of the heart (pictorial condition). Students in the chart and pictorial conditions had higher scores on 2 learning tests. Results supported the nonequivalence hypothesis, which states that a spatial display can promote learning more effectively than a list because a display’s nonverbal (e.g. spatial) features explicitly depict relationships among a system’s components. The results have implications for science educators.


adjunct display science text text learning 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew T. McCrudden
    • 1
    Email author
  • Montana K. McCormick
    • 2
  • Erin M. McTigue
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Education, School of Educational Psychology and PedagogyVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Towson UniversityTowsonUSA
  3. 3.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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