Interactivity Can Lead To Completely False Memories?

from the is-that-a-problem? dept

It's probably no surprise that more interactive websites can help people better remember the content they find on those sites, but how much of those memories are accurate? A new study, pointed out by Clive Thompson, suggests that interactivity can often lead to false memories as well. That is, people who checked out an interactive website about a new camera later believed that they had seen it have features that it simply didn't have -- and which weren't on the website. This happened much more frequently than those who saw the same camera described on a more static website. Thompson wonders if (or how) this impacts marketing campaigns. It's great that customers remember more in playing around with an interactive website, but what if they remember false information? It can lead to false expectations and, later on, quite angry customers who absolutely will claim to remember promises that a product can do something it cannot. Of course, looking at the actual research report, the researchers admit that this particular experiment involved whether subjects recognized features when presented to them, not whether they recalled them with no prompting at all -- which raises a bunch of different issues. It could actually mean that people don't remember false memories, but have simply been primed to accept them when later presented (which again raises questions for marketers). Overall, though, it certainly does highlight some interesting things about how marketers need to be careful about their interactive advertising efforts, as people react differently to them than static ads.

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  • identicon
    Dr. Bologna, 6 Dec 2006 @ 7:50pm

    Great research.

    Why wouldn't you test with prompting and without prompting. I'd bet that people are simply more likely to assume they had seen a particular feature when asked about that feature. Participants, if not prompted, would probably recall features in the same way from an interactive site as they would from a static site.

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  • identicon
    Max_Powers96, 6 Dec 2006 @ 8:28pm

    Product Sites Have False info anyway

    Most product sites I visit have false and inaccurate info about the product anyway the only true way to know what something has and does not have is to have it in your hands and play with it

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  • identicon
    The Swiss Cheese Monster, 6 Dec 2006 @ 11:34pm

    I purchased a camera from one of these sites because they said that the camera would give me blow jobs.

    Liars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Boris Jacobsen, 7 Dec 2006 @ 12:10am

    Maybe it's the way the site advertises the function in question.

    HEY LOOK AT THIS AMAZING FUNCTION THAT ALL CAMERAS SHOULD HAVE

    (small print: this particular camera does not have this function)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gary Loffler, 7 Dec 2006 @ 4:58am

    camera functions

    This sounds very much like a memory study that was done a while ago where the researchers asked leading questions to people who had gone to Disney World as kids. They asked if they saw non-Disney characters such as Wile E. Coyote. If the answer was yes, they asked more questions,such as did Wile E pose with you for a picture. A large number of people replied yes again, even though there was no way for the memory to be true. Depending on how this new study was done (asking if you remember a feature vs. what features do you remember), the study directors could be influencing the results.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2006 @ 7:18am

    Dr. Obvious says ...

    The subject would have to actually READ the specs on a static website, whereas they'd be too busy playing with (e.g.) a 360-degree view on an interactive site. While "showing" is, in many cases, better than "saying," it is not surprising that subjects made assumptions (imagined features) based on an experience that de-emphasized the importance of simply reading a list of features.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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