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Magical thinking and memory: Distinctiveness effect for TV commercials with magical content

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychological Reports
Issue number2
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)369-379
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The aim of this study was to examine whether memorizing adver- tised products of television advertisements with magical effects (i.e., talking ani- mals, inanimate objects which turn into humans, objects that appear from thin air or instantly turn into other objects) is easier than memorizing products of advertise- ments without such effects, by testing immediate and delayed retention. Adoles- cents and adults viewed two films containing television advertisements and were asked to recall and recognize the films’ characters, events, and advertised products. Film 1 included magical effects, but Film 2 did not. On a free-recall test, no dif- ferences in the number of items recalled were noted for the two films. On the im- mediate recognition test, adolescents, but not adults, showed significantly better recognition for the magical than the nonmagical film. When this test was repeated two weeks later, results were reversed: adults, but not adolescents, recognized a significantly larger number of items from the magical film than the nonmagical one. These results are interpreted to accentuate the role of magical thinking in cognitive processes.