Memories in Colors essay

Memory and learning are the means that ensure a survival of people as species. This is the reason why an issue of memory is the subject of consideration of several studies related to cognitive abilities. One of the most significant elements associated with memory is color. Colors are visual appearance of something. This appearance is an important factor in memory. The current paper discusses sources that base on the research of memory mechanisms and their connection to color perception.

The secondary source under consideration is an article from an online magazine. The article is titled “Why Our Memories Work Better in Color” and is written by Tim Utton. The author reports on a study of Karl R. Gegenfurtner, Felix A. Wichmann, and Lindsay T. Sharpe. The ideas of their research are collected in the primary source that is an article “The Contributions of Color to Recognition Memory for Natural Scenes” and published in 2002.

The Main Statement

The secondary source incorporates the statement of the primary research and finds its particularization in a thesis according to which memory “works better in color”. This very idea is established in the title of the article “Why Our Memories Work Better in Color”. One may presume that the title is chosen to attract attention of the readers online. The article is written more for the purpose of entertainment than for a scientific interest. That is why the discussion lacks information for further readings. The secondary source also fails to provide information about the history of the study. By comparison, the primary source includes more than seventy references. The only identification of the actual research, apart from names of the scientist, is the following line “the psychologists’ paper, “Learning, Memory and Cognition”, is published by the American Psychological Association”. This shows a contrast between target audiences of the primary and secondary sources.

The secondary source is focused on the dominance of color and how it is connected to memories. This concept partly finds its realization in the in approach that the author uses. The online article provides interesting information from the primary source in a form of quotations in order to get readers interested in the topic. The statement is stressed by theoretical assumptions: “It appears as if our memory system is tuned, presumably by evolution and/or during development, to the color structure found in the world”.

Examples Related to the Statement

According to the material, when people have difficulties recalling an episode from a black and white movie like Casablanca, it is because our brain is more perceptible to things in color. The empirical research supports this idea. However, the data from the primary analysis includes formulas and complicated graphs, so Utton uses his own examples to illustrate the statement and make it easy for understanding. The author of the secondary source leaves out the images from the primary source that illustrate that pictures of similar color (even black and white) but with variations in shape are also remembered differently. The overview of the study is incomplete due to a purpose of familiarization with the subject of memory and colors.

It is noted that “color has a stronger appeal to the senses, prompting a better connection to parts of the brain involved with memory”. The finding of psychologists suggests that a process of storing and recalling images requires additional factors. In this case, experiments show that color has an important role in an ability to remember. This was established by a number of experiments. Tim Utton describes the basic experiment that involved participants looking at forty-eight images, some in color and some in black and white. The colorful pictures were remembered much better than the black and white images. The author writes that the distinction is 10 per cent. This is an exaggeration, because, according to the primary source the effect of black and white versus colorful figures is measured by a “difference of about 8 per cent”. However, Utton neglected to mention that in order to conduct such experiments, scientists developed a system image representation. This is how the study under analysis may be distinguished among the others similar studies in the field. For instance, it was necessary to measure color perception in a variety of categories. This method was implemented in order to achieve more accurate results. These results are based on a performance that “differs significantly between the different categories”. In order to explain this phenomenon, Utton only writes that the reason why pictures in color are remembered more vividly can be explained by a pattern according to which “brain knows and expects” colors that reflect natural human surrounding. In this manner of data submission, it is obvious that the secondary source is not concentrated on the elements that contribute to the main idea.

Overlooked Facts

The main statement of the primary source is described; however, the meaning of the findings is not developed. For example, it is interesting to know that memory recognizes color because of several reasons. Nature implied color memory as it is an instrument of cognitive facilitation. This may be proved by two main ideas. Firstly, color memory helps to structure things in mind. Secondly, color memory is “a more surface-based episodic memory system storing color information” and we have a constant access to it. What is more, the secondary source does not mention that the role of color is also to increase attention. This means color does not only allows us to remember thing, but color is also an evolutionary instrument.

Significance of the Research

An advantage of the secondary article, apart from describing material is that the author uses the main information in order to make suggestions about how psychological interpretations may be further applied. For example, Tim Utton in his work quotes Karl R. Gegenfurtner in order to give some piece of advice to his readers: “Perhaps designers should be aware that, in order to engage or grab one's attention as in advertising-bright colors might well be most suitable”. This is how a scientific view may be realized in every-day life. Utton emphasizes the importance of the Gegenfurtner, Wichmann, and Sharpe’s work in every-day practice.


In conclusion, we may infer that the discussed primary and secondary sources contrast in a way of material introduction due to diverse audience groups. This controversy affects the information discussed in the primary source. However, the secondary source manages to develop a topic without any alterations in the meaning of the primary source study, a lot of data is passed unnoticed. The omission is related to examples and scientific patterns that are substituted by more simple and typical specifications. The primary source is concentrated on the elements that contribute to the idea of color memory; the secondary source does not follow this pattern but develops the statement that memories are better remembered in color. There is an exaggeration in numbers, but it does not mislead readers from the point. Every point of the online article is supported by the primary research. The claims of the secondary source fit the information in the primary source.

We want to make your life easier

Memories in Colors essay

Related essays

  1. Moral Codes
  2. Rocha and Cinema Novo Movement
  3. How Women Made a Development of Science/Engineering and Technology
  4. Effective Disengagement as Part of the Organizational Communication Strategy