The influence of AR on our brain


AR has been around for some years, but there hasn’t been much research done 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 

A special research has taken place in which 150 participants had to carry out different assignments with and without AR versions, such as Google Translate Word Lens (AR) and a usual Google Translate App without AR. During the experiment different factors were measured, such as: long-term memory encoding, engagement, attention, approach/withdrawal, and emotional intensity. The results showed that almost all of the measured parameters were higher with people who used AR, especially engagement and attention. 

High level of Memory Encoding 

The same study results also showed a 70% higher memory encoding level with AR usage than without it. Encoding allows a perceived item of use or interest to be converted into a construct that can be stored within the brain and recalled later from 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 a catchy slogan or your favorite actor in them. AR ads would probably be special to you, because it’s something that you haven’t experienced before. Marketers can use AR to stand out from the crowd with their advertisements. 

Lower approach/ withdrawal levels 

The levels of approach and withdrawal from the information while using AR was lower than without it, according to the same British study. Lower levels of approach and withdrawal are connected with the emotional experience of participants. A world of new adventures and unexpected circumstances are open for people when using AR technologies. AR provokes a ‘surprise’ response in the brain.

The capacity of AR to deliver surprising and emotionally powerful experiences is likely to stay in the future. The software that is used to create AR experiences continually improves, enabling the developers and creators to build more vivacious and compelling AR experiences. 

There’s a big chance for AR to be used for more purposes in our daily lives. The research has shown that smartphone users welcome the ability of the technology to problem-solve different issues and contexts of everyday life. 

Neuroscience and the future of AR 

As with most new 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 that, just like the internet, will be an integral part of our daily lives. At this point it will be that novelty transcends into strategy and 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 and more important as people’s brains come to expect everyday surfaces, products and packaging to be augmented. 


These findings on the influence of AR on the brain have huge implications on the way brands should be thinking about their long-term commercial strategies. As Neuro-Insight’s research certainly suggests, AR experiences are considerably more engaging and memorable than non-AR experiences, which presents a huge opportunity for brands to lead the way in leveraging the technology.

These findings don’t just stop at a brand level either. The implications are 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. Or think of try-on ads, where you can try on a product online and order it straight away. It will drive down the return numbers tremendously. Now is the time to start thinking about your long-term AR strategy.