Existing studies, however, have found no link between the proportion of autobiographical memories consumers report and product evaluation.
Thus, our understanding of the processes which determine the persuasive impact of autobiographical memories ads remains unclear.
In this paper we propose that the persuasive process underlying autobiographical memories ads is more representative of semantic memory or a category-based process rather than episodic memory.
Fiske suggests that to the extent that an instance is perceived to fit the schema, it will receive the affect linked to that category.
Otherwise, the instance receives a moderate positive affect by default, pending its categorization as a good example of something else.
Controlling for initial depression symptoms, students who showed both high overgeneral memory and high frequencies of stressful life events had more depression symptoms 4–6 weeks later.
Overgeneral memory was correlated with an index of specificity culled from autobiographical essays but, contrary to expectation, was uncorrelated with self-report measures of thought suppression, dissociation, avoidance, or intrusion.
In one study (Sujan et al., 1993), the researchers found that self-referencing was an effective persuasive technique as it resulted in a higher evaluation of the product compared to a more traditional product focus type of ad.
In a different study, the same authors found that the autobiographical memory ad led to a higher evaluation of the ad, but not the product (Baumgartner et al., 1992).
The memory is experienced as the representatin of an event at a particular time and location (Brewer & Pani, 1983) and is characterized as having unique cognitive properties of the self (Gergen, 1971).
This effect has led researchers to characterize ads which evoke autobiographical memories as representative of episodic rather than semantic memory (Baumgartener et al., 1992).