The influence of AR on our brain

AR is already with us for a while now. However, there is not much research about the benefits of it from the psychological side of consumers. We found a number of interesting articles about the influence of AR on the brain and decided to share the information with you. What does AR do to our brain?

High cognitive activity

In special research; 50 participants have worked on different assignments with and without AR versions. During this experiment different factors were measured. For example: long-term memory encoding, engagement, attention, approach and emotional intensity. The results show that almost all of the parameters were higher with people who used AR. Especially within engagement and attention.

High level of memory encoding

The same study shows a 70% higher memory encoding level with AR usage. Encoding allows to convert a perceived item of use into a construct that can be stored within the brain. We can recall this later from our long-term memory. For marketers, this has great meaning. Imagine yourself looking at a number of television commercials. The next day you will probably recall a few to zero. The ones you do remember most likely have something special, like AR. It’s something that you haven’t experienced before.

Lower approach / withdrawal levels

According to the same study, the levels of approach and withdrawal while using AR were lower than without it. Lower levels of approach and withdrawal can be connected to the emotional experience of participants.  AR provokes a ‘surprise’ response in the brain.

Future predictions

The capacity of AR to deliver surprising and emotionally experiences is likely to stay in the future. The software that is used to create AR experiences continually improves. This makes it possible for developers and creators to build more vivacious and compelling AR experiences. There is also a big chance that AR will be used for more purposes in our daily lives.

Neuroscience and the future of AR

As with most mediums, the newness associated with AR will decrease a little over time. With this in mind, the earlier mentioned withdrawal effect will most likely diminish as we see AR segway into an everyday utility. At this point, story and content become a much more integral part of delivering AR experiences of the future. The ability to tell engaging and captivating stories will be more important as people’s brains come to expect everyday surfaces, products, and packaging to be augmented.


These findings have huge impact on brands and their long-term commercial strategies. As Neuro-Insight’s research certainly suggests, AR experiences are more engaging and memorable than non-AR experiences. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to lead the way in leveraging the technology. More info on social platforms and our behavior with AR? Check the article here.

They don’t just stop at a brand level. The impact is much more far-reaching. For example, live shopping from home in a Kiwi store during a pandemic. This 3D online store provides all the service and excitement from a regular real store, but online. Now is the time to start thinking about your long-term AR strategy.