Colour specificity in episodic and in perceptual object recognition with enhanced colour impact
Abstract:In three experiments we investigated the perceptual specificity of explicit (old-new object recognition) and implicit memory (word-picture matching) for colour. In order to enhance the impact of colour on processing, we increased the number of colours per object and we impaired shape information. We presented multicoloured pictures (Experiment 1), blurred and partially occluded pictures (Experiment 2) and coloured line drawings in visual noise (Experiment 3). Experiments 1 and 2 had an intentional study phase; the study phase of Experiment 3 was an incidental colour or category naming task. Changing colour from study to test always had negative effects on episodic recognition although colour was irrelevant. In contrast, in the matching task old pictures were generally matched faster than new ones independent of their colour congruence. In Experiment 3, an additional small advantage of congruent colours and of semantic processing occurred. We conclude that two different memory representations contribute to these tasks. Changes of an achromatic, more abstract representation, that is used in normal object recognition, and a representation of the specific exemplar that includes colour. This latter token is used in episodic recognition as well as in unusual perceptual tasks (Experiment 3).
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Saarland University, Germany
Publication date: January 1, 2003