We are constantly bombarded with logos from McDonald's Golden Arches to Nike's swooshing tick, but a new study suggests we really aren't paying all that much attention.
According to scientists at the University of California, we are “surprising poor” at recalling the details behind that all-important brand recognition.
In fact, out of 85 participants, just one was able to correctly recall the Apple logo when asked to draw it from memory, while less than half of those taking part in the study (47 per cent) could pick it out of a line up of eight.
That's despite demonstrating “overconfidence” on both counts, though this dropped once the task was attempted.
“Given the number of exposures people have to the Apple logo (in advertisements, and on their own computer, laptop, or iPhone), one might expect good memory for the shape and associated details of the logo, or at the very least, correctly recognising the logo,” the scientists said. “However, human memory is often tuned towards remembering gist-based schematic information, and details may be quickly forgotten.”
The authors of the study - Adam B. Blake, Meenely Nazarian and Alan D. Castel – said overconfidence was probably down to “the fact that the logo is perceived to be relatively simple, pervasive, and memorable and is therefore believed to be recalled easily”.
The gap between people's estimate of their own powers of recall and reality suggests that memory is “much poorer than they believe it to be”.
“Despite frequent exposure to a simple and visually pleasing logo, attention and memory are not always tuned to remembering what we may think is memorable,” they conclude.
So, one more time: do you know what the Apple logo looks like? And how confident are you that you're right?