Retrieval Induced Forgetting and Online Advertising

Madeleine Steeds, Sarah Clinch, Lukas Noehrer, Geoff Ward, Cathleen Cortis Mack

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Objectives/Purpose This study series investigates the applicability of retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) to static visual media (images such as logos) within the context of online advertising. Design/Background Internet users are exposed to digital advertising when performing many everyday online activities. Unlike conventional adverts (TV, newspaper), digital advertising often contains links allowing immediate purchase following exposure. As a result, cognitive manipulations such as RIF could have significant impact even if not long-lasting. Methods In each experiment, participants studied a range of brands from different product categories. They then underwent a retrieval practice phase (akin to an advertising campaign) in which they were tested using cued-recall (Experiments 1 & 3) or recognition practice (Experiment 2) on a subset of these brands from a subset of categories. After a delay, participants then underwent a test of category-cued recall to assess brand accessibility. Results Participants recalled a greater proportion of advertised items than items from non-advertised categories (retrieval practice). Critically, we also found retrieval-induced forgetting: accessibility to unpractised brands from practised categories suffered through advertising of competitors relative to unpracticed categories. This occurred in experiments investigating explicit and implicit memory. Conclusions Experiments 1-3 indicate that RIF effects generated using visual media could impact the memorability of brands. An ongoing experiment (Experiment 4) looks to apply this finding in the context of video adverts such as those found on video streaming platforms. Our experimental platform “WeTube” mimics YouTube as closely as possible to maximise ecological validity. Preliminary data suggests there may be a RIF effect for recall memory.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021
EventBPS Cyberpsychology Section Conference - Virtual
Duration: 6 Jul 20217 Jul 2021


ConferenceBPS Cyberpsychology Section Conference
Abbreviated titleCyber2021
Internet address


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