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Memory Enhances the Mere Exposure Effect


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Tom Stafford, Lecturer, Psychology and Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK (


The fact of having already encountered something encourages future preference, a phenomenon known as the mere exposure effect (MEE). There is a widely accepted view that recognition inhibits the MEE. Here this view is contested and the generality of the findings upon which it is based questioned. New evidence is presented from a systematic investigation of the moderating influence of recognition memory on the MEE, using brand logo stimuli and methods that make the results directly applicable to marketing practice. It is shown that recognition, whether correct or mistaken, enhances, rather than inhibits, the likelihood of preference.