Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Memory, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Uncategorized.

Description: Are things we see ALL the time more likely to be things we can routinely retrieve from memory? You would think so but maybe not so much. Look at the logo below. Recognize it? Of course you do, except…… is it genuine? Is there anything wrong with it?

Sources: Science Daily

Date: Released March 20, 2015


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We know that we are more likely to successfully memorize a line or a picture if we look at it over and over and rehearse it (especially if we spread the rehearsals out over time). So the logos and other images and objects that we see all the time in our day to day lives ought to be neatly and accurately ensconced in our memories, right? Research by Adam Blake and colleagues suggests that it may not work that way. Consider the Apple Logo (that’s it above right?). It is everywhere and so it should be something we could draw correctly from memory with our eyes closed. The researchers asked students to draw the Apple logo from memory and to pick the correct one out from a set of 8 possibilities (only one was correct). Only 1 in 85 students was able to draw the logo correctly (so maybe there were just not artists in the sample?), but as well, fewer than half of the students picked the correct logo from the 8 possibilities. Why might this level of performance be so low? Perhaps, as these and other researchers suggest, we only process a general impression of common (always around) everyday things – this is called a “gist” (“it’s kind of something like this sort of…”).

Other researchers (Shapiro and Nielsen, 2013) have shown that we are more likely to remember ads we see over and over if small details of the ad (such as the placement of the company logo) are varied from one exposure to another. So what does this suggest about our memory? Well perhaps we need to think about the relative advantages, evolutionarily speaking, of paying attention to things around us that stay the same as opposed to things that change or are novel.


Questions for Discussion:

  1. What might these studies suggest about the nature of our memory and its role in our day-to-day lives?
  2. What might the implications of your answer to question 1 be for our “modern” lives as opposed to our lives in ages gone by?
  3. What sorts of things do these studies suggest that advertisers ought to do to get our attention and influence our memories to their clients’ benefits?

References (Read Further):

Adam B. Blake, Meenely Nazarian, Alan D. Castel. (2015) The Apple of the mind’s eye: Everyday attention, metamemory, and reconstructive memory for the Apple logo. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 37(1), 1-8. pdf here:

Stewart Shapiro and Jesper H. Nielsen. (2013) What the Blind Eye Sees: Incidental Change Detection as a Source of Perceptual Fluency. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(6), 1202-1218