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Effects of High and Low Saturation of Red Hue on Long-Term Memory Performance
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by Ani G. Nikolova and Jill L. Quilici* - California State University, Northridge
Categories: Memory | Sensation/Perception
Little is known about the mechanism of our physiological reactions to color and its impact on cognition. Despite that knowledge deficit, many researchers have used different colors as an environmental setting in studies on study and recall context variations and memory. The goal of this study was to examine whether manipulation of color properties, manipulation of color context, or both factors have an effect on memory recall. Each of the 2 independent variables—color presented at study and color presented at test—had 3 levels: high saturation of red hue, low saturation of red hue, and neutral (gray) hue. A total of 180 students were assigned to 1 of the 9 conditions in a 3 x 3 randomized-groups design. Analysis of variance revealed a significant effect of color saturation on memory recall indicating that high saturation, both at time of study and time of test, resulted in better recall than a neutral hue or low saturation. The results relating color context and recall were nonsignificant, demonstrating that a change in color context from study to test did not result in greater forgetting. This finding clearly indicates that the manipulation of color saturation is the primary cause for the outcome in memory recall in this study. Implications for use of color to improve memory in a variety of learning situations are discussed.