Effects of novelty-reducing preparation on exploratory behavior and cognitive learning in a science museum setting



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between (a) novelty and exploratory behavior, (b) novelty and cognitive learning, and (c) exploratory behavior and cognitive learning in science museums. Sixty-four sixth-grade public school students participated in a posttest-only control group design. The control group received a treatment designed to decrease the novelty of a field trip setting through a vicarious exposure while the placebo group received an informative but not novelty-reducing treatment. Both groups then visited the field site where they were videotaped. Statistical analyses were conducted on both dependent variables with socioeconomic status and academic achievement as covariates, novelty-reducing preparation as the independent variable, and gender as moderator variable. Exploratory behavior was shown to be positively correlated with cognitive learning. Significant differences were detected for exploratory behavior. For both dependent variables, gender by treatment group interaction was significant with novelty-reducing preparation shown to be highly effective on boys but having no effect on girls.