Do Personalized Audio and Visual Texts Promote Deeper Cognitive Processing

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2014


Several studies have observed the effect of using personalized narration in the presentation of material in a multimedia environment. While the presence of an agent (multimedia picture) speaking the personalized narration has led to mixed results, the personalized narration by itself has been shown to offload audio cognitive processes and enhance deeper learning and transfer. The dual channel assumption states that we process information both audibly and visually. The present study examined the effects of personalization without an agent, and it addressed the effects of a personalized text. It separately tested the effects of this personalized text on the two unique channels of processing; auditory (listening) and visual (reading). It was the purpose of this study to investigate in a controlled language learning environment whether the personalization of audio texts and visual texts could improve a listener's or viewer's understanding of a text and facilitate a transfer of that understanding to solving novel problems. Participants either listened to or read three various scientific texts. This study measured the learning differences after reading or listening to an original text and a personalized text. As predicted, the personalized texts offloaded auditory and visual input as revealed in the testing of recall as revealed through transfer test scores, but not significantly. Participants who were exposed to the personalized medium were not afforded any processing advantage. Transfer was measured by the participant's ability to apply his knowledge in solving novel problems. Recognition test scores revealed a significant result, but in the opposite direction that was predicted.


William G. Masten

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences