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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2002 May;28(3):509-20.

The contributions of color to recognition memory for natural scenes.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biologische Kybernetik, Tübingen, Germany.


The authors used a recognition memory paradigm to assess the influence of color information on visual memory for images of natural scenes. Subjects performed 5%-10% better for colored than for black-and-white images independent of exposure duration. Experiment 2 indicated little influence of contrast once the images were suprathreshold, and Experiment 3 revealed that performance worsened when images were presented in color and tested in black and white, or vice versa, leading to the conclusion that the surface property color is part of the memory representation. Experiments 4 and 5 exclude the possibility that the superior recognition memory for colored images results solely from attentional factors or saliency. Finally, the recognition memory advantage disappears for falsely colored images of natural scenes: The improvement in recognition memory depends on the color congruence of presented images with learned knowledge about the color gamut found within natural scenes. The results can be accounted for within a multiple memory systems framework.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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