“If we think of it ourselves, we find it easy to remember”

We remember information better if it is generated by our own mind, moreso than when we read or hear it from someone else. So if you want your customer to remember something, a highly effective strategy is to have him generate the information himself.

Scientific research example:

Imagine that you’re given a list of simple multiplication problems. Some calculations include the answers, for others the answer is absent. For calculating the missing answers you can use your head, or a calculator. You are asked to remember as many of the outcomes as possible…

In a study like this, Crutcher & Healy (1989) found that you’ll remember the answers that you calculated yourself best…

Online Persuasion tips:


  • Don’t show all of your USP’s, but ask your customers to think of one or two reasons why to buy your product themselves.
  • Use a feedback tool to ask why customers are considering your offer (open answers).
  • Even in your shopping basket or on your thank you-page, you could test by asking the customers why they bought your product.


Further reading on the self-generation effect:

  • Crutcher, R.J.; Healy, A.F., Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 15 (4): 669–675 (1989). “Cognitive operations and the generation effect”.
  • Generation effect on Wikipedia