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Maria Hellenthal

PhD student

Department of Psychology


Thesis title: Misinformation effects caused by retroactive product placement aimed at pre-adolescents and young adults.

Supervisor: Professor Mark L. Howe

Overview and research interests

Maria's PhD research involves investigating the effects of product placements in photos as well as the effects of retroactively placed brands in pictures on consumers' true and false memories. Maria is using a modified version of the misinformation paradigm to test for potential memory effects. In her research so far she has found that product placements in pictures have an influence on adults' true and false memories and that retroactively placed brands have the potential to change memory for originally presented brands. However, findings also suggest that the unique characteristics that differentiate brands from critical items that are typically used in misinformation studies have a somewhat different impact on memory. These effects will be explored further.

Apart from gaining deeper insights into retroactive product placement effects on memory in general, developmental differences in false brand memories will be a main pillar of Maria's PhD. In the past, children and pre-adolescents have shown to be especially prone to misinformation. Therefore the aim is to investigate effects of retroactive product placement not only on young adults, but also on a more vulnerable target group such as pre-adolescents.

Research interests

•    False memories
•    Misinformation effects
•    Retroactive product placement
•    Developmental differences

Awards and grants

  • Feb 2013: PhD studentship, City University London, London
  • Dec 2012: Ed Chronicle Memorial Prize for the best performance by an MSc student, Lancaster University, Department of Psychology


  • Sept 2012 - May 2013: Seminar tutor at Lancaster University, Department of Marketing: Marketing Part I