September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Visual memory for colour: the long and the short of it
Author Affiliations
  • Marina Bloj
    Bradford School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Bradford
  • David Weiß
    Department of Psychology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
  • Karl Gegenfurtner
    Department of Psychology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 1315. doi:
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      Marina Bloj, David Weiß, Karl Gegenfurtner; Visual memory for colour: the long and the short of it. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1315.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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An established finding in colour memory research is that memory shifts to more saturated matches. These results are based on ‘memory colours’ – the typical colours of particular objects, for example the green of grass. The problematic aspect of these findings is that many different exemplars exist, some of which might exhibit a higher saturation than the one measured by the experimenter. Here we avoid this problem by using unique items. Participants (N=12) brought personal coloured objects (toys, etc.). In absence of the object, we secured from the owner a long-term memory match to it. The match was performed in a room under neutral daylight illumination by selecting the chip that best resembled the memory colour of the object from the Munsell Book of Color (Glossy Edition). Participants that were naïve to the objects (N=8) performed the same selection task immediately after looking at each object for 30 seconds (short-term memory match). Subsequently, the same participants provided an object-match under daylight with chips and objects present. We measured the colour coordinates of selected chips, objects and illumination. The Munsell collection did not provide exact matches for every object, so the object-match was used as a proxy for analysis. The comparison between the matches of the owner of the object and the naïve subjects matches showed that owners recalled the colour of their object as being more saturated (t(11)= -2.61, p=.02) while participants who had just seen the object did not show that effect (t(11)=-1.15, n.s.). In CIE-Lab, the saturation effect averaged over all participants and objects was 6.4 units for long-term and 2 units for short-term memory. Our results show that the shifts to higher levels of saturation only occur for objects stored in long-term memory and that this bias is not present for short-term memory.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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