Unconsciously presented information can influence our behavior in an experimental context. However, whether these effects can be translated to daily life, such as advertising, is strongly debated. What hampers this translation is the widely accepted notion of the short-livedness of unconscious representations. The effect of unconscious information on behavior is assumed to rapidly vanish within a few hundreds of milliseconds. A second challenge for examining unconscious perception is providing sufficient and reliable evidence that the information was indeed presented below the consciousness threshold. Studies examining unconscious perception in advertising use subjective report and/or prime identification to establish prime awareness, which have been criticized for underestimating prime awareness. A more strict prime awareness is required in order to make reliable conclusions with regards to the unconscious nature of the primes. In this study we aim to address both premises in order to investigate whether unconscious effects on behavior have the potential to be translated to a more applied context, such as advertising. Two priming experiments were conducted where highly familiar brand logos (e.g., the logo of McDonald's) were presented either consciously, minimally consciously or unconsciously. In order to assess short- and long-term effects, we manipulated the Stimulus Onset Asynchrony (SOA) resulting in a short (e.g., 350 ms), medium (e.g., 1000 ms), and long SOA (e.g., 5000 ms). The priming task was followed by a strict objective prime awareness assessment. Our results indicate that a logo of a familiar brand (e.g., McDonald's logo) is able to prime its name (e.g., "MCDONALD'S"), even when this logo is presented unconsciously and when more than five seconds pass between the presentation of the unconscious information and the behavior on which it exerts its influence. Furthermore, a logo of a highly familiar brand is also able to prime words strongly related to its brand (e.g., "HAMBURGER"), even when this logo is presented unconsciously. However, these effects for non-brand targets seem to be unstable and differ between different SOA conditions and between conscious, minimally conscious and unconscious conditions. This highlights that the spreading of activation of logo primes to associated words requires more profound investigation. Determining that unconscious information can have long-term effects on our behavior in an experimental context is a first step in assessing their potential impact in everyday life. Further research should focus on the impact of these highly familiar brand logos on consumer behavior and decision making as well.
|The Annual Meeting of the Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences (BAPS), May 27 2014, Leuven (Belgium)
|Published - 27 mei 2014
|Annual Meeting of the Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences (BAPS), Leuven (Belgium) - , Belgium
Duur: 27 mei 2014 → …
|Annual Meeting of the Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences (BAPS), Leuven (Belgium)
|27/05/14 → …