In any setting, under any circumstances, we process and
store more information than we are aware of.
The terms remembering, recall and recognition should
not be used interchangeably.
Inability to recall something does not mean that it was
never stored in memory, or is truly forgotten and been erased from
memory. I may not recall something unless stimulated to do so.
On the other hand, when stimulated by a picture, let's
say, if I don't at all recognize something I have been exposed to,
such as a face, that signals complete forgetting.
Think of situations where you have remembered a face
(recognized it) but forgotten a name, until it was mentioned.
Recognizing images and sounds that you were previously
exposed to, perhaps even years earlier, is not at all the same as
Recalling means being able to put those previous
exposures into words, so you can tell someone else, or yourself,
whether much later, or even just a little after exposure.
So, after being exposed to the content of ads, such as
the ones on this site, you store in your memory specific information
even though you (on your own) probably can't consciously recall
specific memories of ad messages--until you are stimulated by
something outside yourself, such as seeing the product in a
The idea is to have the consumer already prepared (by
the ad) so that seeing the product triggers the impulse to try/buy
Early studies using devices like the tachistoscope show that the
brain registers and stores visual material that has been flashed
before the eyes for extremely brief periods of time--for fractions of
Sometimes the exposures are so brief that the person
has no conscious awareness that there has been an image. Yet, when
tested later, they had absorbed the information, without even
Some of the so-called right brain / left brain research
showed that words and pictures went through each eye into different
parts of the brain, where each type of data was stored and accessed
differently, at different levels of consciousness.
NOTE: After you've explored this site further, if you
want more explanation of the tachistoscope and related issues, go to
the "web-links to more theory"section and click on the item that
leads to Mike Buchenroth's Master's thesis.
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