According to the study, such information will make its way into your memory any way, whether we are able to recall it or not, the journal Psychological Science reports.
In this case, the failure to make a positive identification could be owing to the fact that memory is not strong enough to support a yes response, says Anat Maril of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“Therefore, the trick is to examine how confidently people say no to the unattended information they are trying to remember.”
The classic opinion voiced from the beginning of modern psychology has been, “What you don’t pay attention to isn’t remembered”, says Yaakov Hoffman of the Hebrew University and Bar-Ilan University.
Hoffman concludes that perhaps everything we see makes its way into our memory, such as billboard ads when driving by or perimeter signage at sport arenas.
But we need to know how to ask, and we need to carefully listen to the answer: “I don’t think I remember” does not mean “I remember not”!