This study sought to address the issue of autobiographical advertising, and how advertisers play off of people’s emotions and memories through the art of advertisements. The purpose of this study was to see if using this form of advertising causes people to develop false memories about their past. This topic is important to study because it shows how advertisements can sometimes lead to the cause of people developing memories that actually never happened to them, which causes them to be able to relate to the advertisement better and become more interested in the product or place that is being advertised.
Advertisers play off consumer’s memories because it allows them to ...view middle of the document...
With that said, a reason that memory- evoking- advertisements can alter memory for a childhood event is because of the reconstructive nature of memory. Some childhood memories may even be based more on recurring ads that consumers are exposed to rather than the actual recollection of childhood events.
Many times childhood relationships influence relationships that form in adulthood because memories from ones childhood can influence their decision-making throughout the rest of their life. Memory has a reconstructive nature therefore a consumers past is constantly being updated to fit their knowledge and self-context. Often times imagining something you experienced during your childhood can force people to create alternatives to reality if the experience actually never occurred, they make themselves believe it did. When one imagines these childhood events occurring it may induce source attribution errors and cause the recently imagined event to become confused with the actual past. Rewriting ones history is a very natural thing and allows them to adapt to possibilities in the future. This is why it is so easy for people to create memory distortions or false memories. The memories that are most apt to distortion are ones that have had time to fade. An imagined childhood experience can be remembered by a construction of memories that do not exist, and it is more likely to happen for events from the distant past than from the recent past. Previous research from Garry, Manning, Loftus, and Sherman (1996) resulted in finding out that people that imagine these experiences have an increased confidence that the events they imagined actually happened. They looked at the relationship between cues asking participants to imagine an experience and also later reporting of the event happening to them as a child. When they did many of the participants who performed the imaginative exercise reported substantial rises in confidence that the incident had occurred. This confidence in thinking that the actual and illusory incidents both occur is known as the imagination inflation. Experiment 1 addressed the question of whether autobiographical advertising affected how consumers remembered a prior childhood experience, while experiment 2 addressed whether false information in advertising about childhood experiences at Disney made consumers believe that those events happened to them.
For Experiment 1, there were 107 undergraduates from a Midwestern university participating in this study. A single factor between subjects design was used in this study, half of the participants received a Disney ad while the other half received a control/ non-Disney ad. The participants were randomly assigned to one of these conditions. The independent variables in Experiment 1 are the control and Disney ads presented to the participants. The dependent variable in Experiment 1 is the chance that the ads bring about a memory of childhood experience. Participants that were given...