Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effect of an ambient olfactory intervention on time -on -task and performance during participant interaction with an electronic flashcard system
by Loewer, Aaron J., Ph.D., Utah State University, 2009, 20; 3344380
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to measure the influence of an ambient peppermint aroma on participants’ time-on-task and performance while using FACTOR, an open-source e-Learning application. I proposed time-on-task was moderating between olfactory stimulation and performance.

A 2x2 research design measured interaction of group (nonscented, scented) and gender of participants (N = 65). The learning content consisted of 28 African countries. Two methods for measuring time-on-task were employed: participant self-report at six learning intervals, and second, video recordings captured by, and stored on each participant’s computer.

Independent samples t tests were used to measure group and gender differences in time-on-task and performance. Relationships between time-on-task and performance were assessed using bivariate correlation and were reported as r values.

Time-on-task differences between groups were not significant but garnered ES = .53. After 24 minutes of learning time, control females spent more time-on-task than control males (ES = .71), which was a statistically significant result.

There was a weak to almost neutral correlation between time-on-task of all participants and performance (r = .1) where controls showed a weaker relationship (r = .05) than treatments (r = .26). The correlation between observed time-on-task and posttest performance was neutral for controls (r = .008) but moderate for treatments (r = .38). During the 40-minute learning session, the relationship between observed time-on-task and performance was r = .04 (females) and r = .55 (males), which was statistically significant.

When examining time-on-task at the six measured intervals, the relationship with performance was strongest for treatments after 16 (r = .39) and 24 (r = .39) minutes of learning time. The direct influence of olfactory stimulation on performance was weak as the peppermint scent had a greater influence on time-on-task. Significant differences and notable effect sizes were not achieved by examining these variables.

Analysis of the entire model showed the variables (condition, time-on-task, performance) were weakly correlated (r = .19) and that only 4% of the variance in the model was explained by its variables. As such, I failed to reject the null hypothesis, which was that time-on-task did not act as a moderator between condition and performance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Burnham, Byron R.
Commitee: Bentley, Joanne P.H., Mills, Robert J., Shelton, Brett E., Wiley, David A.
School: Utah State University
Department: Instructional Technology
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social studies education, Educational technology
Keywords: Electronic flashcard, Geography, Instruction, Olfaction, Peppermint, Performance, Time, Time-on-task
Publication Number: 3344380
ISBN: 978-1-109-00851-7
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