A couple of years ago, music psychologist decided to make some alterations to the music of . Berio was one of the most famous classical composers of the 20th century, a man internationally recognized for the dramatic power of his compositions. But Margulis didn’t worry much about disrupting Berio’s finely crafted music. After loading his most famous piece into a computer editing program, she just randomly started cutting.
And the power of repeated exposure isn’t just limited to music. Research has shown that the mere exposure effect makes stockbrokers feel more warmly toward stocks they’ve seen before; it also works when looking at art or fashion or random geometric shapes. And, as the psychologist Robert Bornstein, of Adelphi University, points out, the mere exposure effect is part of the reason we see so many political ads before elections.
“It doesn’t matter what’s in the ads,” Bornstein says. “It’s the repetition. You keep seeing the face and you keep hearing the name and that causes some degree of attraction. And the fact that they know that you’re making dinner and not really attending closely … that is all to their advantage. They like that you are being repeatedly exposed without thinking too hard about the fact that you are being repeatedly exposed.”
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