Ads may create false memories

Updated: May 11, 2011, 14:07 PM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that advertisements can sometimes create false memories about products in the minds of the viewers.

It has emerged that people who read vivid print advertisements for fictitious products actually come to believe they’ve tried those products.

The study authors have claimed that ‘exposing consumers to imagery-evoking advertising increases the likelihood that a consumer mistakenly believes he/she has experienced the advertised product, and subsequently produces attitudes that are as strong as attitudes based on genuine product experience’.

It has emerged that decreasing brand familiarity and shortening the time between viewing the ad and reporting evaluations reduced the false memories in participants.

"Consumers need to be vigilant while processing high-imagery advertisements because vivid ads can create false memories of product experience," the authors say.

The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.