Published: January 15, 2018
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By: Holly Gilzow, Cal State San Marcos
Category: Cognitive Science
An experimental study conducted in Dr. Carrick Williams's Lab in Cognitive Psychology 393- Oddvertising refers to a trend in advertising that started in the 90s, one that relies heavily on content that essentially violates the rules of reality. Odd images are often recalled better, but why? Duncan & Shohamy (2016), found evidence to support that in the presence of familiar images, people were better able to recall numerical values than in the presence of unfamiliar images.
Based on their research, we used odd and normal ad images as backgrounds during value recall tasks. Participants were shown a series of cards with suit and numerical value, then asked to recall the numbers associated with each suit, in the presence of an odd or normal image background. This was repeated three times. The six images are included above.
Hypothesis 1: The high attention required for encoding an example of oddvertising will inhibit access to previously learned values, compared to the relatively low attention required for normal images, leading to poorer memory performance in the odd image group.
Hypothesis 2: Between three successive trials, those seeing normal images will be better able to improve over time.
Results: In the first trial, participants performed substantially better in the familiar image condition than those in the odd image condition. The group that saw familiar, or 'normal' images suffered a steep decline in trial three. Participants in the odd image condition improved substantially in trial two, then leveled off in trial three. There was a significant interaction between trial and image type, p = .031, but only in the first. This interaction indicates that the effect of image type was dependent on the level of trial.
Discussion: A possible explanation for the significant difference between groups in only the first trial could have been that high attention (to odd images) is maintained for only a short time, and then desensitization occurs. This would be evolutionary adaptive: a continuous state of high attention would lead quickly to mental exhaustion. A possible explanation for the abrupt decline in the familiar image group in trial 3 may also have been proactive interference- the frames they had recalled so well in the first two trials were interfering with their recall of the third set.