Crunchy Food Fights Advertising (and NSA stuff)

A new study suggests that chewing gum or crunching on popcorn while watching movie previews reduces the psychological impact on advertising.

The authors go off the theory that chewing prevents us from subconsciously trying to speak the brand name on screen. I would nevertheless be curious if anyone’s tried non-oral distractions, like playing with a pen or picking a lock or a cat that wants to be fed.*

* latter example may not be suitable for actual scientific study design

I suspect that, while subconscious simulated pronunciation probably plays a role, the main thing is forcing the brain to process multiple ideas at once. The bright, high-up screen of a movie theater is inherently a hypnotic induction device… in fact, a bright object just above eye height was one of hypnosis-inventor James Braid’s preferred trance induction techniques! (The Egyptians used this too.)

It was shown already a hundred years ago that hypnosis (and more or less every method of engraving things upon the subconscious mind) benefits strongly from reducing the number of competing ideas in the mind — and increasing the “strength” of one particular idea.

(There are about a billion caveats to this — Erickson and various forms of “hypnosis at a distance” for one — but the general trend of “greater effect with greater monoideism” holds in everything I’ve read.)

Therefore, introducing additional distractions via other motor and sensory channels (like chewing) would prevent the viewer from entering that one-idea-at-a-time state. Instead of being engraved on the subconscious like a hypnotic instruction, the commercial would be in turn filed away with all the other daily memories of non-relevant data… which is to say, in /dev/null.

NSA is after your address book — except not really, they actually get it so many times they have to filter it out!

Oh, and looks like Snowden did indeed grab Intellipedia like the Cryptome rumor suggested:

NSA fingerprinting burners too — though they’re still better than smartphones, which ought to be burned instead…:
Abstract: One important psychological mechanism of advertising is mere exposure inducing positive attitudes towards brands. Recent basic research has shown that the underlying mechanism of
mere exposure for words, in turn, is the training of subvocal pronunciation, which can be obstructed by oral motor-interference. Commercials for foreign brands were shown in cinema sessions
while participants either ate popcorn, chewed gum (oral interference) or consumed a single sugar cube (control). Brand choice and brand attitudes were assessed one week later. While control
participants more likely spent money (Experiment 1, N=188) and exhibited higher preference and physiological responses (Experiment 2, N=96) for advertised than for novel brands, participants
who had consumed popcorn or gum during commercials showed no advertising effects. It is concluded that advertising might be futile under ecological situations involving oral interference, such as snacking or talking, which ironically is often the case.

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