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Title: Absence makes the mind grow sharper : element omission and product recall
Authors: Sengupta, Jaideep
Gorn, Gerald J.
Goldberg, Marvin E.
Keywords: Recall effects
Element omission
Issue Date: Mar-2000
Series/Report no.: Marketing Working Paper Series ; MKTG 00.149
Abstract: Advertisers often deliberately leave out crucial elements from an ad. While prior research has explored various attitudinal consequences of such omission, our research investigates the memorial consequences of element omission. We focus specifically on the recall effects resulting from a previously unstudied form of element omission - leaving out an entire visual element from the ad. Research on self- generation as well as on message elaboration indicates that such element omission may actually lead to an improvement along specific dimensions such as category recall and brand recall. We find strong support for this perspective in a series of three experiments which explore the effects of feature omission both in the context of perception-based omission (wherein the omission is noticed purely on the basis of a perceptual process) and knowledge-based omission (wherein the omission is noticed due to prior expectations for that ad type). Our pattern of findings favor a self-generation process (vs. a process centered on overall ad elaboration) as being the likely driving mechanism for the recall advantages resulting from element omission.
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