Do Screen and Text Color Affect Retention?

3.7 based on 228 ratings

Updated on Jan 04, 2013

Grade Level: 4th to 8th; Type: Social Science


This experiment explores whether computer screen and text color affect retention and if people subconsciously prefer combinations of colors that help retention.

Research Questions:

  • Did certain combinations of screen and text colors lead to consistently more words being remembered?
  • Is there any correlation between a subject’s preferred colors and his retention?


  • A computer
  • Paper and pencil for tracking results
  • At least 20 test subjects

Experimental Procedure

  1. Develop several simple retention tests: lists of words that the test subject will study and then recall. The lists should all be different but equally difficult.
  2. Type the lists of words so that each list appears on a different colored screen and with different colored text. Include a range of light and dark, vibrant and subdued colors.
  3. Allow the test subject to study a list of words for 30 seconds.
  4. Take the computer away and ask the subject to name as many of the words as he can remember.
  5. Repeat the memory test using all combinations of screen and text colors.
  6. Record the number of words recalled for each color combination.
  7. Ask the subject if there was any screen/text color combination(s) that he preferred.
  8. Analyze the results. Did certain combinations of screen and text colors lead to a consistently higher number of words being retained? Is there any correlation between preferred colors and retention?

Terms/Concepts: screen color, text color, retention, preference

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