Recall of Details in Advertisements in Different Conditions

Recall of Details in Advertisements in Different Conditions

Advertisements have been widely used to promote vacation package deals. With the use of music and color, people have been able to recall more information from an advertisement. Explanations of the effect have been proposed: hypothesis (i.e., people are able to recall more information on advertisements with color and music vs. advertisements without music or color.) By presenting a slideshow to participants with advertisements including multiple stimulus. Our study was designed to measure a person’s ability to recall details from vacations package deals presented with a Slideshow. The presentation tested participants on the information they will recall from the different conditions presented in the advertisements. Our research supports that advertisements presented in color and music had no significant effect on memory. However, in black and white with music there was an interaction. Advertisements without color and with music have a more positive effect on recall of detail presented.

However, the use of music being played in the background has an effect on a consumer being able to retain the information that they are reading, this study discusses how music and color effect participant’s ability to recall information. Advertisement ads in black and white and in color, with music and without music were presented to participants to test their effect on memory. To test the performance on recall and its relation to music and color, one system (apple computer playing a PowerPoint) was used in this study.

Keywords: details, advertisements, music, color, black and white

Recall of Details in an Advertisements in Different Stimulus

The capacity to use working memory, which is the ability to maintain and manipulate information over short intervals, can become derailed by task-unrelated thought, a phenomenon known as mind wandering (MW; Smallwood & Schooler, 2006). When music is in the background and colorful images are added, it can be difficult for someone to be able to use the full potential of their working memory due to all the distractions. In this study we research the potential effects that music and color may have on people’s ability to recall information from an advertisement, over a short period of time. Many researchers have concluded that working memory, involves three components; Visiuo-Spatial Sketch Pad, Central Executive, and the Phonological Loop known as the Bradley Model of Working Memory. Information of what pictures and what things look like are stored and processed in the Visiuo-Spatial Sketch Pad, and when information is told to you verbally it is stored and processed in the Phonological Loop, then later sent to the Central Executive who is the boss of working memory and decides what to do with it. Baddeley, A.D. and Hitch, G.J. (1974) when watching advertisements, if they are in color and music is played in the background, it is possible that these elements can affect a people’s ability to recall the information on the advertisements.

Research has concluded that when it comes to color and memory, a person’s visual memory is enhanced when things are seen in more ways than just black and white. Natural colors like blue, red, and yellow makes a difference when it comes to recall and memory. For example, Martin (2007) states that colors in there natural state makes a difference when it comes to recall and memory. Specifically, an individual has an easier time recalling information on a diagram that is in blues, greens, and reds verses in black and white. In short, things in color have a more lasting impression than things in grayscale.

Regarding how music may affect memory, researchers found that music presents information in a different way to aid with memory recall, because now that music is added in the background, the reader has a sound that can flow along with the words to help them remember and recall information. (Hyman & Rubin, 1990). For example, when recalling the alphabet, people usually sing the alphabet song to be able to recall the letter order. Comment by Elissa: Comment by Anonymous: Comment by Elissa: Comment by Anonymous: Comment by Kashaf Saleem: Comment by Kashaf Saleem: Comment by Elissa: Comment by Kashaf Saleem: Comment by Elissa:

There are many theories that have been researched regarding memory and the effect that music plays when being able to retain information. Fassbender, E., Richards, D., Bilgin, A., Thompson, W. F., & Heiden, W. (2012), conducted a study investigating background music in video games and how the music may have different effects on memory of the video game players. They tested using a video game with music at different pitches and tones and one without music for the participants to play. They were able to conclude that participants could remember more facts in the games where music was played verse, when playing the game when it is silent. Although music being played in the background, participants were still successful with remembering information, making music complementary to recall.

In order to elaborate on previous findings, the current experiment plans to investigate how music and color affect memory recall of information portrayed in advertisements. It is important to be able to recall information in advertisements to be able to uncover the benefit that the advertisement has for you. If you are watching an advertisement for a vacation and see something that catches your eye, you are more likely to do more research on the vacation to see if it is worth taking.

Many studies have been done on the amount of concentration it takes when using working memory, while reading and comprehending to be able to memorize and regurgitate it. While reading most people remember the beginning of what they read and also the very end, but often forget the middle content or how they got to the end.



Our sample included eleven participants aged 20 to 32 all female. Only students that were enrolled in Experimental Projects at The University of Texas at Dallas were recruited. Participants were recruited verbally by a recruitment script presented in front of 15 students. The recruitment script was brief and informed the participants and we were conducting a study. Investigating the effects of color and music on people’s ability to recall details in an advertisement. It was noted that no compensation would be given to the participants for completion. All procedures were approved by The University of Texas at Dallas’ office of Research Compliance.


The experiment conducted utilized a two factor within-subjects design of advertisements with two different independent variables: color and music. The first independent variable had two levels. Level one consisted of an advertisement in color. Level two was an advertisement in black and white. The second independent variable incorporated or music stimulus with two levels. The first level was music with an upbeat tempo with no words. The second level was no background music. Participants completed all conditions of the experiment using a timed powerpoint. Each slide of the powerpoint had an automatic timer set for 30 seconds so each participant was exposed to each stimulus for the same amount of time.


The experiment was conducted in three separate tasks conducted by the investigator. Paper and pencils were provided for the questionnaire and for the quiz at the end. All information collected from the participants was filed using non-defining participant codes. The advertisements were designed by the investigators to be unique and present four different vacation deals. Each slide used pictures of beaches provided by Google images. The advertisements used several different features from Powerpoint including word art, font styles, sizes and colors. These features were used to emphasize the details that would be asked of the participant to recall at the end. The music was provided by Youtube and was set to automatically play for the duration of the slides. A laptop in the classroom included the music used to play the slideshow to participants.


The participant were directed one by one so there was distractions while completing the experiment. Each participant read and gave verbal consent to the investigator. The investigator started with a brief questionnaire for data collection on age and gender and a short questionnaire on their frequency to travel (Appendix A). This information was critical in order to compare our results with pre existing studies. The visual and music stimuli were presented next through a timed slideshow that lasted three minutes. Instructions were given on the first slide for the participants to read. The directions instructed participants to watch the following advertisements. The first two advertisements present had music that played simultaneously with the advertisements. The first advertisement slide was in color followed by the second slide. The second slide presented a different advertisement in black and white. Two more slides followed with different advertisements. The last two advertisements were presented again in color followed by the last advertisement in black and white. There was no music associated with the last two advertisements or during the directions. The last slide instructed the participants to complete a quiz of the advertisements shown. Following the slideshow, the investigator removed the computer from the participants’ view and proceeded with the quiz. The quiz consisted of one page with five questions labeled by order of the advertisements presented. Each participant had three minutes to complete the quiz that consisted of twenty questions (Appendix B). After completing the quiz the participant had successfully completed all stages of the experiment, and was thanked for their participation.


This experiment measures the dependent variable of the ability to recall details from advertisements when participants were exposed to conditions when color and music are varied. The first independent variable, color, includes either a bright color or black and white. The second independent variable, music, includes the levels of music or no music. We predicted there to be a main effect of color as well as a main effect of music. We also predicted an interaction of color by music. The data were analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with SPSS (25). For our first prediction, we found a significant main effect of color F(1,11) = 7.652, p = 0.018. We did not, however, find a significant main effect of music, F(1,11) = 0.000, = 1.000. Also contrary to our hypothesis, we did not have a significant interaction of music by color, F(1,11) = 1.158, = 0.305. Results are shown in Figure 1.

We predicted that conditions where participants were exposed to color would result in better performance. We also predicted that participants would perform worse in conditions where music was included. Our descriptive statistics revealed that the conditions with no color (no color, with music: 85.000(17.321); no color, no music: 78.333(19.924)) were better than conditions with color (color, with music: 65.000(17.321); color, no music: 71.667(18.007)). We also found that the mean values for conditions with music seemed to depend on whether or not the music was also played in a color condition versus a black and white condition. Mean values for each condition are shown in Table 1.

Figure 1. Effect of Color and Music on Ability to Recall Information from Advertisements. = 12.

Mean Std. Deviation N
Music Color 65.0000 17.32051 12
Music No Color 85.0000 17.32051 12
No Music Color 71.6667 18.00673 12
No Music No Color 78.3333 19.92410 12

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics.



Baddeley, A.D. and Hitch, G.J. (1974) Working memory. In The Psychology of Learning and Motivation (Bower, G.A., ed.), pp. 47–89, Academic Press

Fassbender, E., Richards, D., Bilgin, A., Thompson, W. F., & Heiden, W. (2012). VirSchool: The effect of background music and immersive display systems on memory for facts learned in an educational virtual environment. Computers & Education, 58(1), 490-500. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.09.002

Hyman, I. E., & Rubin, D. C. (1990). Memorabeatlia: A naturalistic study of long-term

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Martin, R. C. (2007). Editorial for Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33(1), 1-1. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.33.1.1

Appendix A


Age: Gender: Have you been out of country? a) Yes b) No Do you like to travel? a) Yes b) No How often do you travel? a) Never b) Sometime c) Often

Appendix B

Recall Quiz for each Advertisement

1) What is price for the travel package?

2) What is the location for the travel package?

3) How many people are included in the travel package?

4) True or False. Was flight included specific dates and airlines.

5) How long would the vocation last?

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