Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 263–281 | Cite as

Resolving the Effects of Concreteness on Interest, Comprehension, and Learning Important Ideas From Text

  • Mark Sadoski


This paper reviews research suggesting that interest and importance are separate constructs mediated by concreteness and mental imagery, especially in expository text or other genres where concreteness and importance often diverge. Important expository material can be relatively more interesting or less interesting. If important expository material is concrete it tends to be interesting and well recalled. If important expository material is abstract and not well linked to concrete elaboration or examples it tends to be less interesting and less well recalled. Concrete elaboration of abstract ideas tends to improve students' recall. There appears to be no harm in adding concrete detail to well structured, coherent text to promote interest unless enough is added so that a new text with a different coherence emerges. Making already concrete text more emotionally interesting may have little effect. Using a coherent text structure that adequately implies or signals importance and supporting important information with concrete explanation are key text design implications. Dual Coding Theory provides a systematic theoretical account of the findings in this area.

concreteness interest importance text comprehension text recall text design Dual Coding Theory 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Sadoski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Teaching, Learning, and CultureTexas A&M UniversityCollege Station

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