Better memory makes people tire of experiences more quickly

May 1, 2017
People with stronger working memories tire of experiences more quickly, according to a new study that can have implications on product marketing and consumer behavior. Credit: modup.net

We're fickle creatures. At least if we can remember to be, according to a new study led by a University of Kansas researcher of marketing and consumer behavior.

"People with larger working memory capacities actually encode information more deeply," said Noelle Nelson, lead author of the research published in the Journal of Consumer Research. "They remember more details about the things they've experienced, and that leads them to feel like they've had it more. That feeling then leads to the large people getting tired of experiences faster."

The study could have implications for marketers seeking to maintain interest in their products and brands. Consumers could also benefit from the research because it provides a window into how memory could be the key to becoming satiated, especially on products or habits they hope to quit, such as eating .

"Our findings suggest that if they can enhance their memory for the other times they've eaten these foods, they may feel satiated and then not seek out those unhealthy things," said Nelson, an assistant professor of marketing and in the KU School of Business.

Nelson co-authored the study with Joseph Redden, associate professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota.

They conducted four separate experiments with undergraduate student participants. The researchers measured people's working memory capacities in different ways, such as how well they could remember a string of letters or how they performed on the Simon memory game where users must try to repeat a series of tones and lights.

Then participants then performed a task where they would eventually become tired of what they experienced, like viewing paintings or listening to music.

"We found that their capacity predicted how fast they got tired of the art or music," Nelson said. "People with larger memory capacities satiated on these things more quickly than people with smaller capacities. Essentially, large capacity people perceive that they've experienced things more times because they remember those experiences better."

Past research has only speculated on the link between memory and the rate of satiation, but this study provides direct evidence, she said.

Marketers could perhaps use this type of research to craft strategies on ways to keep people interested longer.

"For example, introducing new products or having distractions in ads might help break up the satiation process because they disrupt memory," Nelson said.

The researchers didn't specifically study overeating or unhealthy foods, but the findings should extend to those types of experiences, she said.

"Because a big part of overeating is psychological, a psychological solution such as processes, could help people control their eating," Nelson said. "Consumers might be able to satiate more quickly by simply recalling the last several times they ate."

Explore further: Got to remember them all, Pokemon

More information: Noelle M. Nelson et al, Remembering Satiation: The Role of Working Memory in Satiation, Journal of Consumer Research (2017). DOI: 10.1093/jcr/ucx056

Related Stories

Got to remember them all, Pokemon

December 20, 2016
"Gotta catch them all, Pokémon!" Or in this case—got to remember them all, Pokémon.

Attempting to remember may hinder intuitive 'gut feeling'

December 16, 2016
You might think that remembering a specific thing – say, the price of a can of corn – would help you when trying to make a specific determination, like if the corn costs more this week than last.

Recommended for you

Nature or nurture? Innate social behaviors in the mouse brain

October 18, 2017
Adult male mice have a simple repertoire of innate, or instinctive, social behaviors: When encountering a female, a male mouse will try to mate with it, and when encountering another male, the mouse will attack. The animals ...

Brain activity predicts crowdfunding outcomes better than self-reports

October 18, 2017
Surveys and self-reports are a time-honored way of trying to predict consumer behavior, but they have limitations. People often give socially desirable answers or they simply don't know or remember things clearly.

Navigational view of the brain thanks to powerful X-rays

October 18, 2017
If brain imaging could be compared to Google Earth, neuroscientists would already have a pretty good "satellite view" of the brain, and a great "street view" of neuron details. But navigating how the brain computes is arguably ...

'Wasabi receptor' for pain discovered in flatworms

October 18, 2017
A Northwestern University research team has discovered how scalding heat and tissue injury activate an ancient "pain" receptor in simple animals. The findings could lead to new strategies for analgesic drug design for the ...

Changing stroke definitions is causing chaos, warns professor

October 18, 2017
Proposals to change the definitions of stroke and related conditions are causing confusion and chaos in clinical practice and research, a Monash University associate professor has warned.

Brain-machine interfaces to treat neurological disease

October 18, 2017
Since the 19th century at least, humans have wondered what could be accomplished by linking our brains – smart and flexible but prone to disease and disarray – directly to technology in all its cold, hard precision. Writers ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

OverTheMoon
5 / 5 (1) May 01, 2017
Creepy.

How's this for a marketing tool? Develop and create a useful product, sustainably made under decent labor laws.
kevinmn
not rated yet Jun 14, 2017
it really makes sense to readers. Thanks!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.