How Does Color Influence Recall?

3.7 based on 75 ratings

Updated on Oct 11, 2013

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science


This experiment will investigate whether paper color influences people's ability to remember the information that they read.

Research Question:

  • Does paper color affect test subjects’ ability to remember written information?

When people read a piece of paper, does the paper’s color affect their ability to remember what they saw? In this experiment, you will address this question by testing participants’ abilities to recall written information.


  • Test subjects
  • Five different colors of paper
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Timer
  • Notebook for recording results

Experimental Procedure

  1. Compose a list of thirty different everyday objects (eg, scissors, hair brush, shampoo, etc…).
  2. Print your list on five different colors of paper (white should be one of the colors chosen).
  3. Gather 50-100 similarly aged test subjects.
  4. Divide your test subjects into five groups.
  5. Ask each group of subjects to spend two minutes studying the piece of paper containing the list you created. Use a different color of paper with each group.
  6. Take the list away, and after ten minutes ask each group to write down all of the items from the list that they can remember.
  7. Analyze your results. For each group, what was the average number of items remembered from each list? Are there certain colors that seem to enhance test subjects’ ability to remember the listed items? What paper color was used with that group that performed the worst on the memory test? ?

Terms/Concepts: color and memory

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