|by HvH Interiors|
Are people who have previous experience or training with colour (i.e. designers, artists, etc.) better at remembering and differentiating between colours than un-trained people?
I would have guessed yes ... but this Design Research Friday study shows the answer may be no.
Epps, H. H. & Kaya, N. 2004. "Color Matching From Memory". In AIC 2004 Color and Paints, Proceedings of the Interim Meeting of the International Color Association, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 3-5 November 2004, ed. by Jose Luis Caivano. In www.fadu.uba/sicyt/aic 2004.htm, pp 18-21.
(If you do go look at the article, make sure to scroll down to page 18 of the document to see this particular study.)
Why did they conduct this research? The main purpose was to test colour memory of people who had previous colour training vs. people who didn't. They were also curious to see what kinds of cues were being used to remember colours, if any. Additionally, they compared their results to previous research on the topic of colour memory (i.e. which colour is remembered best?).
How did they do it? They used two groups of university students - one group was composed of design majors, the other wasn't. All participants were female (this struck me as funny, but maybe they did this on purpose since it has been shown that females have better colour memory than men). They decided on four target colours - red, yellow/red, green and purple. Each target colour had nine distractor colours that were closely related to yet varied from the target colour in hue only, chroma only or value and chroma only. Participants looked at the target colour chip for 5 seconds and were instructed to try to remember the colour. Next, they looked at a white chip for 5 seconds. Then they were given a collection of 10 colour chips (9 distractors and the original target) and asked to pick out the target colour. Later participants were asked about which mental cues they may have used.
What did they find? There was no difference in memory accuracy between the trained group and the un-trained group. Yellow was the most accurately remembered colour, followed by purple, then orange and then green. Yellow being the most and green being the least remembered colour was both consistent and inconsistent with previous findings from other studies. Both groups used visual and word cues to remember target colours. Both used visual cues significantly more.
How interesting, right? It would be safe to assume that people who have some kind of colour training know about colour characteristics and therefore can describe a colour properly. If one can describe a colour and break it down based on its characteristics, then that person would probably be in a better position to remember it more accurately than someone who couldn't. Apparently not.
It seems then that our relationship with colours may be governed by something more inherent and intuitive ... would you agree or disagree? Care to share your thoughts?
Have a great weekend folks!