Embargoed Release: December 1, 2006 Contact: Suzanne Wu / 773-834-0386 /

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Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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Embargoed Release: December 1, 2006

Contact: Suzanne Wu / 773
-
834
-
0386 /
swu@press.uchicago.edu

Virtual reality can improve memory . . . perhaps too much

Conventional wisdom tells us that experience is the bes
t teacher. But a new study of virtual
marketing strategies finds that this isn’t always true. Ann E. Schlosser (University of
Washington) tested how well people used a camera after learning about its functions two
different ways: either through an interact
ive virtual rendition or through text and static pictures.
She found that though virtual experiences improved people’s


memories of the camera’s
functions, it also increased false positives


that is, more people believed it could do things that it
couldn’
t do.

"Although object interactivity may improve memory of associations compared to static pictures
and text, it may lead to the creation of vivid internally
-
generated recollections that pose as
memories,” Schlosser writes in the December issue of the
Journal of Consumer Research
.

In addition, though the virtual experience was better for retaining information, it didn’t help test
subjects recognize the actual items when presented in real life: “The benefi
ts of learning via
virtual experience may come with costs: the ease of generating mental images may create later
confusion regarding whether a retrieved mental image was perceived or imagined,” she writes.

Schlosser also warns that while it might seem adva
ntageous if consumers think a product has
features it doesn’t actually have, this can actually lead to customer dissatisfaction. She explains,
“Consumers who discover that the product does not have these attributes will likely feel misled
by the company.”


Ann E. Schlosser, “Learning Through Virtual Product Experience: The Role of Imagery on True
Versus False Memories.”
Journal of Consumer Research
: December 2006.