The “Vividness” of Virtual Reality can create false memories

This article focuses upon one tool available to marketers in interactive media environments: object-interactivity. Object-interactivity involves having a virtual experience with the product and elicits more vivid mental images than do static pictures and text. Because imagery-evoking stimuli can improve memory, object-interactivity will likely improve certain true memories compared to static pictures and text (a picture site). Yet, it may also lead to more false memories. Indeed, scholars argue that although learning via physical experience with a product is vivid, it can create an illusory sense of competence. Likewise, the benefits of learning via virtual experience may come with costs: the ease of generating vivid mental images may create later confusion regarding whether a retrieved mental image was perceived or imagined, thereby leading to more false memories.

Read Learning Through Virtual Product Experience: The Role of Imagery on True Versus False Memories (pdf) by Professor Ann E. Schlosser for the December 2006 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. Commentary from Ars Technica.

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Filed under Business 2.0, Technology, our Mirror, The Reading Room, Virtual Communities, Virtual Reality

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