Well, what do the fMRI scans of people looking at fMRI scans look like compared to those looking at the same information without the fMRI scans?
But on a serious note (now that I've actually read the article) it's worth observing that the further back a study was conducted, the more likely it is the images had a real effect. According to the model of persuasion, pictures generated by a brand new technology are more likely to have persuasive effect because it is less likely that people will be have the knowledge about the new technology to evaluate evidence from it. As the technology becomes more familiar people can get more into the meat of what it is telling them and stop looking at the pretty pictures.
Thus a shift over time could be reasonably expected, and a study from 2008 might show more influence than a contemporary study even though nothing has changed about the methodology.
This post should have had a picture of an fMRI scan on it.
It's a neat reminder that answers aren't always binary.
"Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it's just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters."
- Qingyuan weixin, Transmission of The Lamp
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