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Charles Pearson in Research Live on the Science of Insight

On 11th December 2019, Research Live published an article written by Charles Pearson, FlexMR’s SVP Business Development; A Scientific Approach to Creating Memorable Insights. In this article Charles explores what makes certain images memorable, and what effect this could have on research reports in market research.

We live in a noisy world full of relentless visuals, words, data, etc. constantly bombarding our senses from every which way. Very few will actually stick in our minds long enough to make a difference and influence our actions. This is as much an issue to be battled for consumer attention by brands as it is for insight professionals to battle for stakeholder attention. So, Charles has turned his hand to writing a piece aimed to help us discover what makes an insight memorable enough to stick in our minds, to help insight professionals create better research reports.

A Scientific Approach to Creating Memorable Insights

Imagery is currently the key to creating memorable insights. With our fascination with art, imagery can simultaneously capture our attention, imagination, and curiosity, and convey powerful messages through deeper interpretation. However, with so many images in existence, how can we create an image that will stick in the minds of the audience?


While images are fairly attention-grabbing individually, when put into the context of the noisy world we live in, getting an image to stand out can be quite hard. Psychologist Aude Olivia showed subjects thousands of photographs to determine which best exemplified implied movement and were most memorable. She found that dynamic scenes that involved people interacting performed best, while landscapes performed worst.


There is a strong case for the effect of novelty on the memorability of an image, story or experience. Research published in Nature towards the end of 2016 identified brain cells that boosted the coding of experiences into memory which were activated only during novel experiences.

A number of approaches can be taken here, but one example involve using deliberate errors, which involve taking a recognised object and changing an aspect to make it unfamiliar. Think of a lion with zebra stripes or a chair with three legs.


Finally, emotion is a powerful device. A highly detailed memory around the point a surprising or emotionally rousing data point was encoded is known as a flashbulb memory. It is these extremely short, but detailed and salient memories that insight professionals should aim to produce.

Art in Stakeholder Engagement

Through these artworks, we want to demonstrate that it’s possible to create memorable deliverables that engage and resonate with stakeholders on a deep, emotional and human level. However, this isn’t a solo experiment, we welcome any brands who want a personalised postcard to get involved with the process. Find out more about this here.

Interested to find out more about insight memorability? Check out Charles’ full article here.

About Research Live

Owned and operated by the Market Research Society, Research Live is the world's leading source of industry news, opinion, special reports and feature articles for market and social researchers, data analysts and consumer insight professionals. Covering the latest trends and techniques from behavioural economics to big data analytics, as well as hot topics like polling and privacy.

For Press Enquiries

To discuss press and media enquiries please contact Christopher Martin, FlexMR Chief Marketing Officer, by email at chris.martin@flexmr.net or via telephone on 015395 65455.

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