Ever have a product pop up in your memories? And you swear, absolutely swear that indeed, yes, you were drinking a Coke while listening to your iPod as you cruised down the California coast in your brand new Cooper Mini even though you don’t own a Cooper Mini and don’t drink Coke but just might have an iPod.
There’s a reason for that. Scientists refer to this as “false experience effect” and it revolves around a theory known as memory reconsolidation in which it is suggested we reconstruct our memories each time we think them.
So how do the iPod, Coke and car fit into the mix?
Take it away, Wired:
A new study, published in The Journal of Consumer Research, helps explain both the success of this marketing strategy and my flawed nostalgia for Coke. It turns out that vivid commercials are incredibly good at tricking the hippocampus (a center of long-term memory in the brain) into believing that the scene we just watched on television actually happened. And it happened to us.
Takeaway: Remember Journalism 101 and don’t just question mom when she alleges that she loves you. Question your memories. Especially the product placement bits.