Fridge magnets have important pull for holiday memories, says research

fridge magnets

New University of Liverpool research has shown fridge magnets are more than just tourist souvenirs providing holidaymakers with an important aide for memory recall.

Research from University of Liverpool Management School found that these holiday trinkets can be unique in evoking a diverse range of memories – with magnets found to boost travellers’ moods long after a holiday has ended.

Within the study, published in the journal Annals of Tourism Research, one participant said: “If you go to any place, obviously in a day you could take 50 to 100 photos…Whereas now I don’t tend to take a picture of anything…I’ll just get a fridge magnet at the end, and I can remember it all from [that]…How many people flick through their old photos on their phone? You couldn’t. Unless you’ve got an electronic, sort of photo thing you can have on the side constantly changing the images on a daily basis or whatever. It’s a fridge magnet for me.”

Of the 19 participants who were interviewed, many said they were reminded of their holidays every time they opened the fridge door. Some magnets had become attached to more poignant memories over the years, serving as a reminder of trips taken with friends or family members who had since died.

Dr John Byrom Associate Dean at the University of Liverpool Management School said: “Far from being banal ‘tat’, our study found fridge magnets can bring a past holiday experience to life more powerfully than many other types of tourist souvenir.

“Little research has taken place looking at what happens to fridge magnet souvenirs after people come back from holiday, so it was really interesting to talk to participants about their different experiences. It was clear that when people talked through what their magnets meant to them, they were very easily able to generate these memories and responses of very specific events or people, including quite poignant examples of holidays that they’ve had with people who have died or children who have grown up and moved away.

“It was also very interesting how fridge magnets can be used as a means of forgetting things that had been bad in your life, to reflect on how things got better.”

“If you’re going away this Easter, why not think about picking up a fridge magnet to see where the memories take you!”

The research was undertaken with Bournemouth University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Copenhagen Business School. You can read the full article here.