, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 363-370

Memory and preference for the colors of objects

Abstract

Memory for object color often produces object-specific deviations from actual color. Several studies have indicated that “memory colors” exist and in some cases influence perception of object color. Systematic changes in memory for color per se cannot account for these memorycolor phenomena. A study was conducted to characterize more specifically the nature of memory for object color information. The study was designed to assess the dependence of memory color on shape and texture information, to compare memory color with color preference, and to determine whether sophistication about color technology affects color memory and preference. Results indicated that, for hue and brightness, memory and preference were quite accurate for the objects tested; however, all subjects remembered and also preferred all items to be more highly saturated. Change in context produced no change in accuracy, suggesting that access to memory for object color is independent of shape and texture information. Color seems to be an independently accessible feature of memory representation rather than an integral part of a prototypic representation.

This study was carried out while the first author was under contract with Xerox Corporation, Research Division, Rochester, New York, and a member of the Psychology Department at the University of Rochester.