The Effects of Preferred vs Standard Colors on College Students’ Short Term Memory Kristen N. Williams
Emporia State University
Can color help enhance students' ability to learn and better prepare for tests and with other school assignments? The participants were 15 college students at Emporia State University. I used an independent two-group design where students signed up via Blackboard. Participants had 2 min to look at the word list, either black words or color words, then another 2 min to recall what they had seen. I was expecting to find more color words recalled than black words. However, I found no significance between colors and black words. This finding is inconsistent with the findings of Camp, Pecher, Schmidt, and Zeelenber (2009) where color did in fact affect a participant's ability in remembering. Keywords: recall, colors, memory, word list
The Effects of Preferred vs Standard Colors on College Students’ Short Term Memory
The ability to obtain and store information in a short time is short-term memory. Factors can help increase the ability to retain more information. According to Sagi (1980) “words of colors are recalled well than and at the expense of printed colors” (p.149). Previous research by Dreschsler (1960) has suggested that different colors have different effects on individuals and can have some connection to one’s subconscious as well. According to Tait (1912), “colors may affect multiple aspects of one’s memory” (p. 1). Past research using recall-testing (Noble, 1952; Radvansky, Gibson, & McNerney, 2011; Rockway & Duncan, 1952; Watkins & LeCompte, 1991) studied how well people can retain information. Radvansky, et al., (2011) found that among four experiments performed, when individuals had another sense manipulated, sense of sight, the individuals were able to retain words from the word list presented to them. The best perception that increased memory retention was the aspect of colors (Radvansky, et al., 2011) MacKinnon, Geiselman, and Woodward (1985) found that participants’ effort and their ability to retain information when paired with an interference decreased. As one progresses with age their memory may tend to fade but some research has found an increase in memory retention when older adults performed a recall test using colors although multiple responses does tend to decrease after multiple features (Gagnon, Soulard, Brasgold, & Kreller, 2007, p. 210). Within this research, participants were in into two groups by their ages. They underwent three different conditions, the same for each group. While one test varied on one feature, like color, the second varied with color and size, while the third varied in three different features, color, size, and font. They tested participants to see how well they were able to retain the word list, along with the other features, because of the colors, both groups had the ability to remember more from the word lists, but the older individuals were not able to remember the other features as well as the younger participants. Many have used recall tests as their form of testing in their study, whereas the others use colors within their tests to help measure how it affects the individuals memory, whether it deals with emotional ties (Tait, 1912) or to just test whether it affects one’s ability in remembering (Camp, Pecher, Schmidt, & Zeelenber, 2009). The primary goal of my research was to see if participants would memorize a higher percentage of words in color than in black. I believe that this experiment could help students better their studying, may help students remember words for a test, or quiz, and possibly use color to help transfer items from short-term memory, to long-term. Method
Participants in this study were 15 college students enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses in the spring of 2012 at Emporia State University. Participants possibly earned course credit for their participation, but...
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