Consumer Behaviour. Relationship between recognition and recall

Last Updated: 17 Aug 2022
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How can marketers use measures of recognition and recall to study the extent of Consumer learning? Advertisers have long been interested in isolating stimulus factors and associated receiver reactions that affect advertising effectiveness. There is an unresolved debate about the relative merits of recall and recognition, two commonly used measures of ad effectiveness. There is also an inadequate understanding of the differential impact of ad characteristics and reactions on recall and recognition measures.

Various papers have addressed the relationship between recall and recognition, both room a conceptual and an empirical standpoint. Relationships among ad stimulus elements, subjective reactions, and the common and unique elements of effectiveness measures have been the focus of several studies, although no study has investigated these elements in an integrated fashion. Research is needed to address the following questions within a single framework:

What are the interrelationships between recall and recognition measures?

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What are the interrelationships between cognitive and affective responses to an ad?

How do cognitive and affective responses correlate with recall and recognition?

Recognition and Recall

Recall and recognition measures both belong to a class of methods developed to assess the level of awareness of stimuli presented at an earlier point in time. Recall refers to the reproduction of a target item experienced earlier, whereas recognition is awareness of having previously experienced that stimulus g.

In advertising, awareness is generally considered the basic or core communication effect from which such other outcomes as attitude formation and change may emanate. Measures of awareness form a continuum in terms of the nature and extent of the information about the stimulus that is supplied in the test and the requisite memory operation to demonstrate awareness. At one extreme, unaided or free recall requires that a person retrieve the information from memory without assistance from researcher-provided cues besides ones about temporal or general contextual aspects of the exposure.

Effective retrieval demands that the information has been processed and rehearsed at a deep, elaborative level and that it is organized so that an appropriate cue will allow access to it in memory. At the other extreme, recognition imply requires that relevant stimuli be identified, usually from among a list containing both correct and distract items. Recognition may be possible if the stimulus is processed and rehearsed at a shallow, sensory level. Aided or cued recall is an intermediate form of awareness that involves providing a relevant cue (the product or product category) that is meant to assist in the retrieval of the object of interest (e. G. , the brand or claims made).

Aided recall is more similar to unaided recall than to recognition because it requires retrieval of the sing element as opposed to simply requiring a familiarity assessment (Meander Consumer Behavior By motivational ) Tot the three measures tot awareness, aided recall, and recognition are heavily used in academic advertising research contexts.

Detailed discussion of the three approaches and their theoretical underpinnings are readily available. Awareness measures differ markedly in terms of the demands placed on the individual and, for that matter, on the type of exposure required. Many published studies of the ad elements affecting awareness have tended to use either aided recall or recognition as the focal criterion. As one example of an exception, Both aided recall and recognition on the same ads and found that two subjective reactions--meaningfulness and attractiveness--relate differently to these measures.

There has been considerable discussion of the relationship between recall and recognition. Although studies that examined the relationship between recognition and recall were not always congruent in their findings, the following facts emerge:

  • Recognition is higher than recall in most studies . In other words, "when one is 'accessing memory via a commercial'-either by showing or describing it [I. . , via a recognition measure], one gets consistently higher measures than when 'accessing memory via a brand name' [I. . , via a recall measure]"
  • Recognition and recall cavalry, although the extent of cooperation is vastly different across studies. Recognition and recall show a correlation ranging from high to moderate .
  • Recognition and recall scores show a decay over time . However, the decay in recognition scores is very slow .
  • The structure of memory underlying recall and recognition is multidimensional. The multidimensional model of memory is supported in the cognitive psychology iterate.

In their analysis of PARA data concluded that memory is multidimensional, and recall and recognition each capture only a portion of memory, while at the same time, reflecting other mental states. When interest was included, memory appeared to be unidirectional. In a reanalysis of their data, concluded that interest may be viewed as an indicator of recognition and that memory is multidimensional. The above analysis suggests that memory is multidimensional, and the differences in memory may depend on the nature of the cues and retrieval processes of recall and recognition tasks.

The empirical findings indicate that recall and recognition may measure different aspects of memory. It is not clear, however, what ad stimulus aspects relate to recall and to recognition. In other words, can the ad-based antecedents of recall and recognition measures be delineated? The phenomena that advertisers describe as 'recognition' and 'recall' both figure heavily in the history tot copy testing techniques, and it is worth looking in a little more depth at these measures, and the newer criterion of persuasion.

Both recognition and recall are techniques that dredge memory for traces of wariness of an advertisement or brand, but recognition is a direct technique, while recall approaches the memory indirectly. In other words, recognition is the term for trying to access a memory of something by prompting with that concept: so a prompt using the actual advertisement, trying to access any memory of having seen it before, is searching for recognition.

Recall is the term used when one prompts with a brand name while looking for feedback on the memory of the advertise- meet; or conversely, prompts with the unbranded advertisement while looking for feedback on the brand that is being advertised. In practice there are a number of ways in which it is possible to put these techniques into practice, and dredge a consumer's memory for traces of an advertisement or brand.

A researcher might:

  • show respondents the advertisement and ask straight out if they remember it;
  • remove the branding from the commercial, show it to respondents and then ask them to name the brand;
  • describe the commercial to the respondents, omitting to mention the brand, and then ask them if they have seen it, and what brand it is for;
  • ask the respondents if they remember seeing a commercial for brand A;
  • ask the respondents to describe he most recent commercial for brand A.

Each of these techniques impacts differently on respondents' memories, so a researcher who applied different memory-dredging techniques to different sets of 100 respondents (for the same commercial) would be likely to get different results each time.

Ignoring the statistical vagaries that can throw up the occasional wildly atypical sample, these different techniques give increasingly lower results as one use a technique lower on the list above: so a researcher who shows respondents the advertise - meet and asks if they have seen it before will get the highest proportion of costive responses, while a researcher who asks respondents to describe the commercial, without showing it at all or prompting them about its contents, will get the lowest proportion.

This does not mean that people have different 'memories' of an advert- testament. It does mean that the same pattern of connectivity in the brain (the same 'memory) is stimulated in different ways by different prompts. If the prompt material is 'rich', and triggers lots of neural activity, the output (the memory triggered) is also likely to be rich. A stingy or indirect prompt (like the brand name) will generate relatively little output. Recognition is an emotional task, and recall is a logical task.

In other words, recognition makes use tot the right hemisphere tot the brain, which appears to be primarily concerned with emotional matters, and recall makes use of the left hemisphere, where there is most activity when logical thought is required. Print advertising tends to be logical, and television advertising tends to be emotional, in its appeal - print stimulates the left hemisphere and television the right hemisphere. ) Therefore recognition is the correct method to use for television, and recall is the recto measure for print.

Recognition and recall are memory-dredging techniques largely viewing advertising as a learning process, whereas persuasion is a motivation issue. In other words, while recall and recognition are attempts to measure whether or not there is a memory trace (that is, the consumer has a memory of the advertisement and/or the brand), persuasion considers what effect the ad might have on behavior. It looks at the response of the individual to the advertisement, not whether the individual recalls it. There should not be an argument about these issues as being either-or; they must e complementary.

Recall too that advertising does not work immediately, because in most cases the consumer does not make the purchase decision mimed- tell. It is the memory of the advertisement that is drawn on when the purchase decision is made. Many attempts to measure persuasion use a pre-post-exposure evaluation: that is, they ask people whether they intend to purchase something, after they have seen the advertisement but before they have made a purchase. The weakness of this is that it does not take full account of the complex effects of memory and time delays on the impact of the commercial.

Persuasion is a valid measure, and that it does reflect to some degree what impact a commercial might have, if it were recalled at the time of the purchase decision. However, the current research models of many companies that claim to measure persuasion do not reflect this thinking. Our view is that the persuasion model of how advertising works is mainly relevant to direct response-type advertising, and some launch or reliance advertising. Here the strategy is to communicate relevant news, not to lay down a long-term memory, and an immediate short-term effect is hoped for.

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Consumer Behaviour. Relationship between recognition and recall. (2018, May 05). Retrieved from

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