This section is from the book "Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and Business Efficiency", by Warren Hilton. Also available from Amazon: Psychology and Achievement - Applied Psychology 12 Volume Set.
This is how the associative Laws of Habit and Intensity affect the power of recall.
There is no department of business to which the application of these Laws of Recall is so apparent as the department of advertising. The most carefully worded and best-illustrated advertisement may fail to pay its cost unless the underlying principles of choice of position, selection of medium and size of space are understood. The advertisers in metropolitan newspapers and magazines of large circulation are the ones who have most at stake. But whatever the field to be reached, it is well to bear in mind certain facts based on the Laws of Recall that have been established by psychological experiment.
Most advertisers have a general idea that certain relative positions on the newspaper or magazine page are to be preferred over others, but they have no conception of the real differences in relative recall value. When the great cost of space in large publications is considered the financial value of such knowledge is evident.
By a great number of tests the relative recall value of every part of the newspaper page has been approximately determined. It has been found, for example, that a given space at the upper right-hand corner of the page has more than twice the value of the same amount of space in the lower left-hand corner. Many advertisers adopt the policy of repeating full-page advertisements at long intervals instead of advertising in a small way continually. Laboratory tests have shown, on the contrary, that a quarter-page advertisement appearing in four successive issues of a newspaper is fifty per cent more effective than a full-page advertisement appearing only once. It does not follow, however, that an eighth-page advertisement repeated eight times is correspondingly more effective; for below a certain relative size the value of an advertisemerit decreases much more rapidly than the cost. There are, of course, modifying conditions, such as special sales of department stores, where occasional displays and announcements make it desirable to use either full pages, or even double pages, but the great bulk of advertising is not of this character.
Every year in the United States alone six hundred millions of dollars are expended in advertising the sale of commodities, and for the most part expended in a haphazard, experimental and unscientific way. The investment of this vast sum with risk of perhaps total loss, or even possible injury, through the faulty construction or improper placing of advertisements should stimulate the interest of every advertiser in the work that psychologists have done and are doing toward the accumulation of a body of exact knowledge on this subject.
Testing The Memory With Professor Jastrow' S Memory Apparatus Private Laboratory, Society Of Applied Psychology