Presentation medium and spontaneous imaging effects on consumer memory

Carolyn Costley, Samar Das, Merrie Brucks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


After reviewing evidence for separate sensory processing systems for seeing and hearing, we propose that presentation medium influences retrieval cue effectiveness. Specifically, we posit that retrieval cues enhance recall better within medium than across medium, a "modality match hypothesis." An initial experiment indicated enhanced recall for visual stimuli through both encoding and retrieval processes, supporting the hypothesis. The modality match effect was, however, weaker in the audio medium. An analysis of the data supported the view that some people might be engaging in spontaneous visual imaging of the audio stimuli, thereby suppressing the audio modality match effect. A second experiment was designed to study audio modality match with high-and low-imaging advertising slogans encoded in audio and visual mediums. The advertising slogans were either spoken out in audio or presented visually as printed words. We found a significant modality match effect in the low spontaneous imaging condition for messages encoded and retrieved in the audio medium. We discuss implications of these results for testing advertising effectiveness and choosing communication media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-231
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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