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The aim of this study was to examine the accuracy of the recall of memory within two conditions. The first condition was no coloured background whilst the second condition was red coloured background. The participants which the study used were university students.
It was hypothesised that participants in this study would be more accurate with their recall of memory in condition 2 which was red coloured background, whilst participants would perform less accurate in condition 1 which was no coloured background. However, the findings showed the contrary and therefore the hypothesis was rejected. The findings showed that participants were less accurate in their recall of memory in the second condition with red coloured background and showed to be more accurate in the second condition with no coloured background. Thus, the results of this study contradict numerous studies such as Roozendaal and McGaugh (2002) that argues that numerous evidence show that during times of arousal memory is more likely to recall accurately. As Huchendorf (2007) stated that memory can be increased through arousal. As stated in the introduction, Morton (2010) conducted a study to examine the effect of colour on marketing. The results found that colour helped and increased up to 80% of brand recognition.
But there are multiple studies which have found similar findings to this study. For example, McConnohie (1999) studied the effect of colour on memory performance. Slideshows were used, and the background contained the contrasting colours of, blue, green and white but all objects on the slideshows stayed black. As stated, if colour has a positive effect on memory then participants would recall with better accuracy. However, it was shown through the findings that participants recalled better with white background than those with coloured background. Hall and Hanna (2004) also conducted a study that used hundred and thirty-six university students. The study examined the effect of colour on websites which consisted of a range of different colour to different background. The colours were white, black, light but, dark blue and teal. Four different types of background and object colour sequences were used. After the participants were shown the website they were assessed of their retention and readability. It was also expected that the more of contrast of colours – the participants would have better levels of retention. However, findings showed that the contrast in colour only effected the readability and not the memory and readability. Participants performed better with black object with no coloured background.
Despite the above studies in which support the findings of this study there are a few weaknesses in the methodology. For example, all participants were university students. Using students as participants is not a representative sample of the general population. Due to the fact that they tend to be younger and differ in values. In addition, eighty-eight of the participants were females and only fourteen were males. A sample that has more females than males or vice versa, also, is not a representative sample of the general population and might result in gender bias within the research. In McConnohie’s study the choice of colours are very different to the selected colour that was used in this study which was red – which is a warm colour. The colours used by McConnohie were less warm, blue and green. In addition, Hall and Hanna (2004) used white, black, light blue, dark blue and teal which are also not as warm as red. It could be argued, as Birren (1983) argues that colour does increase the rate of arousal, but only natural-warm colours such as red and orange. The theory is further supported by Greene et al. (1983) that colours such as orange and yellow, which are accounted as warm colours, evoked more arousal than colder colours. As this study used, Hall and Hanna (2004) used hundred and thirty-six university students, so it could be argued that their results are not a representative sample of the general population either. A great number of the participants were bilingual. It could be argued that this fact could affect the participants’ performance. As Errasti and Sagasta (2003) explains that individuals who are bilingual tend to be more able on tasks such as cognitive tasks in contrast to monolinguals.
To conclude, it has been found that colour can sometimes affect an individuals’ performance but does not necessarily mean in a positive way. As this study found that colour had a negative effect on the participants as they performed better with no-coloured background in comparison to the red coloured background.

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