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The importance of colour in visual image recognition

Hoque, Nazifa (2016) The importance of colour in visual image recognition. Oxford Brookes University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Colour is a striking aspect of our visual experience; despite this the influence colour has on cognition is, to date, somewhat unclear. The current study intended to test the role colour plays in terms of both perceptual encoding and memory and the extent to which the mediating influences of colour is governed by top-down or bottom up factors. Sixty participants completed a continuous recognition paradigm using natural/abstract images presented in either colour or in monochrome at memory and at test. This resulted in four recognition conditions. The results demonstrated a significant effect of congruency for abstract images, whereby recall for images presented in a congruent manner was superior. There was a significant effect of encoding in the natural condition (i.e. the way images were presented; either colour/ monochrome). Reaction time across both categories of images was faster for abstract images that were shown in monochrome. Accuracy for recognition of abstract images was greatest in the colour – colour condition; for the natural scenes, accuracy was greatest in the colour – monochrome condition. The findings support the idea that colour can facilitate scene recognition through the use of top down knowledge by prompting more accurate and faster responses.

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