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Misinformation effects caused by retroactive brand replacement in photographs

Hellenthal, M. V. (2017). Misinformation effects caused by retroactive brand replacement in photographs. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


By using a modified version of the misinformation paradigm, this thesis examined a new and ecologically realistic domain for the investigation of false memories: Brands retroactively replaced in photographs. The main research questions addressed in this work was whether retroactively replaced brands in doctored photographs could influence memories for previously experienced brands. Following from this, the question of whether false brand memories would have any attitudinal or behavioural consequences for falsely remembered brands was addressed. Five experiments were carried out that included four misinformation studies (Experiments 1, 3, 4, and 5) as well as one brand norming study (Experiment 2). Whereas all four misinformation studies examined the effects of a ‘brand misinformation effect’, Experiment 5 went one step further and examined the behavioural and attitudinal repercussions of false brand memories. In line with previous research, the results of all misinformation studies revealed reliable misinformation effects. These effects were found in more manufactured settings in which brands were experienced as brand placements in photographs (Experiments 1 and 3) but also in settings in which participants were misled on actual past autobiographical brand experiences (Experiments 4 and 5). Furthermore, the results of this thesis suggest that false brand memories could be accompanied by preference changes. That is, the data of Experiment 5 showed that false brand memories for ‘less liked’ competitor brands led to a positive shift in attitudes and behaviour towards these falsely remembered brands. These findings extend the applicability of the classical misinformation paradigm by showing reliable misinformation effects in a new and ecologically relevant context – retroactively changed brands in photographs. Second, these findings show the additional consequences of false memories for a new kind of stimuli that are real and competitive in nature and are associated with participants’ personal preferences. The practical and theoretical implications of misinformation-induced false memories elicited by suggestive photographs are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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