Von Restorff Effect

Items that stand out from their peers are more memorable

But different doesn't necessarily mean better. Being different is more memorable, but you need to be **positively remembered** for standing out from the crowd.

Von Restorff, H. (1933) The effects of field formation in the trace field

The Von Restorff effect (named afer psychiatrist Hedwig von Restorff (1906–1962)), also called the isolation effect, predicts that an item that “stands out like a sore thumb” is more likely to be remembered than other items. This is a bias in favour of remembering the unusual.

Takeaways for Decision-Makers

  1. Create meaningful, helpful contrast between your products through, for instance, the use of a complimentary product in a list of similar products.Use colour, shape, position and texture to accentuate the contrast.
  2. Think strategically about which product you wish to contrast. What is your rationale? Is it part of a trend you’re looking to capitalise upon? Is this product more important than others you offer?
  3. It’s important to implement contrast in a way that doesn’t dilute its power. Not using the Von Restorff effect sparingly will devalue its presence, may lead to confusion and reduce any efforts made around Aesthetic Usability and Choice.

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  • Aspirational membership schemes and belonging The category size bias provides a credible explanation for why we human beings tend to associate with large groups that are viewed favourably by society. Being part of a large and “desirable” social group can make others believe that we also possess the many qualities of its members. For small businesses, it suggests that forming or being a part of a consortium or large and high quality networking group can dramatically elevate your brand image.
  • Communicating category sizes to nudge effectively Highlighting the differences between the large and small categories is highly likely to enhance the effect of the Category Size Bias. For instance, for software companies, stating that there are 10 features in the premium version versus 4 in the free version will help nudge a decision towards the premium version

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  1. The findings from this braingem can nudge better healthcare choices, encourage consumption of a given product, and lead to more confident consumer decisions.
  2. We mistakenly believe that items in larger categories have a higher probability of being picked than ones in smaller categories, despite all items having an equal chance of being picked.
  3. We’ll spend or gamble more money on items put in larger categories.
  4. We’re more likely to take action from tasks when they’re in a bigger list, over a smaller list.
  5. We once we put something into a group, we perceive it to adopt all the characteristics of that group. This suggests that small companies should foster alliances with similarly-principled, more established companies.