Ask someone to describe an Apple advert and I bet you they'll say "different," "artistic," and maybe even "funny," and that's all very nice for Apple (we'll ignore those who'd respond "irritating.") But according to a study due for publication next month, years of seeing those funky ads may have had an unexpected psychological side effect. Apparently showing someone an Apple logo —even subliminally— will make them use more creative thinking to perform a task. That's something I bet even Steve himself couldn't have predicted: a real Reality Distortion Field.
Due out in next month's Journal of Consumer Research, the study looks at how people react when exposed to overt or subliminal IBM and Apple logos. Once they'd been shown the image, test subjects (students!) then underwent an "unusual use test", which asked them to come up with some creative uses for a brick. The number of suggestions and a rating of the "creativity" of their responses were tallied up. The results: both measures indicated that exposure to that little bitten apple shape improved people's creative thinking the most.
The authors suggest it's partly a motivational thing: people who felt motivated to think creatively showed the strongest response, versus non-creatively motivated types.
Psychology eh? It's amazing to me how our minds manage to associate such different-seeming stuff together. It also seems that brand identity worms its way deeper into our psyches than we may have thought, doesn't it? Wonder what kind of emotional response the Microsoft logo would garner? Let us know your ideas in the comments... [Ars Technica]