According to a study in the Australian Journal of Education Technology, there is a seductive effect of decorative images used in learning content.
These influences are relevant in terms of the hypotheses posited to explain the seductive detail effect. Harp and Mayer (1998) proposed three main hypotheses: drawing attention away from relevant information (distraction hypothesis), interrupting the coherent mental model construction process (disruption hypothesis), and irrelevant prior knowledge activation (schema hypothesis). They found that the best explanatory hypothesis was the activation of irrelevant schema, given that the moment when the detail was presented (early on but not at the end) led to different outcomes. Irrelevant schemas would prompt the construction of the text representation to be structured around that information. Nevertheless, they did not find evidence to justify either the distraction or the disruption hypothesis.
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 2019, 35(3).
The implication for the design of core information for smaller screens, i.e., mobile devices, is that simpler is better and the graphics and any other media should be carefully placed as suggested my Mayer and others.
The seductive effect can be elicited by a text passage (Chang & Choi, 2014; Garner, Gillingham, & White, 1989; Lehman, Schraw, McCrudden, & Hartley, 2007; Mayer, Griffith, Jurkowitz, & Rothman, 2008; Rowland, Skinner, Davis-Richards, Saudargas, & Robinson, 2008; Saux, Irrazabal, & Burin, 2015), narration (Mayer, Heiser, & Lonn, 2001; Yue & Björk, 2017), images or graphical elements (Bartsch & Cobern, 2003; Harp & Mayer, 1998; Park, Kim, Lee, Son, & Lee, 2005; Peshkam, Mensink, Putnam, & Rapp, 2011; Sanchez & Wiley, 2006), videos, or music (Moreno & Mayer, 2000).
González, F. M., Saux, G., & Burin, D. (2019). The decorative images’ seductive effect in e-learning depends on attentional inhibition. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 35(3).