The effect of advertising on our attention and memory has been investigated in numerous different studies. For example, do you remember DNA’s legendary “Life is” ads or Toni Tiger, who convinced us that Frosted Flakes are “hurrrrrjan good”? I am talking about these ads.
A study conducted in the U.S. in 2009 sought to determine the impact of such advertisements on our memory and the process of remembering the advertised brand. There are also several neurological studies that shed light on how we visually manipulate website content as well as the importance of marketing in the online world.
A clear example to help you understand what it’s all about is the well-known book and game “Where’s Vallu?”.
Where does Vallu spy?
Where is Vallu? is a well-known book series that engages the reader’s visual attention. This idea created by Martin Hanford has been utilized in two dozen books, video games, animation series and even a film.
Vallu (Waldo or Wally in English) is a boy with glasses and a hat, wearing a red and white striped shirt, who hides in the middle of a multicolored crowd, making himself very difficult to find himself.
Let’s forget about the superficial details for a moment and let’s think a little: How long does it take us to find a certain object in an environment that is visually very confusing or full of different things? How do our eyes find a picture of Vallu that is very concise and full of small details and visual delusions?
It was these questions that researchers Robert Desimone (director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research) and Don Berkey (neuroscience researcher at MIT) decided to address. In particular, they wanted to look at the following two perspectives:
Do our eyes move on the side like a scanner, examining it carefully centimeter by centimeter?
Or do we even scan the whole page at once, looking for clues in the overall pattern and trying to outline the big picture of where Vallu could spy?
Finding conquest in the middle of a crowd
Let’s go back to Vallu. Our neurons are usually very specialized in certain functions. For example, some neurons are best at color selection, others at recognizing shapes, and others at detecting and recognizing patterns.
In our search for Vallu, we activate those neurons that are most qualified of all to distinguish the figure of Vallu before we create a glimpse of the image itself. For example, because Vallu has red in his clothes, we call on red neurons for help. In this way, we create an image of Vallu “through the eyes of our minds” and recruit our “neuron seekers” to capture Vallu.
Precision vision and peripheral vision
So how exactly do we find Vallu? At that point, the two intracranial mechanisms work in harmony with each other.
To clarify how it works properly, let’s clarify a little about the differences between resolution and peripheral vision:
When we take advantage of precision vision, our brains activate the parts that detect small details in our eyes. For example, when we read, we use precision vision to identify and interpret the shape of letters. The glance at the page acts as a so-called “floodlight function” and activates the precision display.
However, the brain must instruct the eyes to move forward. For this we need peripheral vision, which in turn perceives what we see with the “side eye”.
With the help of the peripheral view, we are able to form an image of a much wider area at once . Its goal is to determine if there is something in our field of vision that deserves the attention of the precision screen. Peripheral vision is capable of recognizing vague movements as well as visual signals. This has a significant impact on marketing effectiveness.
Suppose, therefore, that our set of neurons has already recognized the pattern we are looking for, and this image has implanted itself in our forebrain segment.
As we search for Vallu with our peripheral vision, we begin to go through the whole picture piece by piece to find possible coincidences. To distinguish the most promising parts of the image from the background noise formed by unnecessary details, the area in our forebrain block organizes our neurons to synchronize and detect important parts of the image.
The same pattern of action comes into play when we try to distinguish certain sounds from the middle of noise. The test method, for example, draws the attention of a musician who plays on the other side of a congested square.
In this way, our precision vision focuses on those parts of the image where Vallu is most likely to be found. At that point, therefore, we will try to determine, through a more detailed examination, whether it is in fact Vallu.
So what can we conclude from this? The same process is repeated when we visit a website. As marketing professionals and web designers strive to capture our attention, memory, and interest, they may take advantage of the teachings of the Vallu study. The next time you visit a website, see See for yourself how your eyes and brain absorb the information on the page!