Archives of Scientific Psychology

This dataset is made available in connection to an article in Archives of Scientific Psychology, the first open-access, open-methods journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). Archiving and dissemination of this research is part of APA's commitment to collaborative data sharing.

Color-sharing Bonus Project 1, Groningen/Idaho, 2013 (ICPSR 35640)

Principal Investigator(s): Morey, Candice, University of Edinburgh


Color repetitions in a visual scene boost memory for its elements, a phenomenon known as the color-sharing effect. This may occur because improved perceptual organization reduces information load or because the repetitions capture attention. The implications of these explanations differ drastically for both the theoretical meaning of this effect and its potential value for applications in design of visual materials. If repetitions capture attention to the exclusion of other details, then use of repetition in visual displays should be confined to emphasized details, but if repetitions reduce the load of the display, designers can assume that the non-repeated information is also more likely to be attended and remembered. We manipulated the availability of general attention during a visual memory task by comparing groups of participants engaged in meaningless speech or attention-demanding continuous arithmetic. We also tracked eye movements as an implicit indicator of selective attention. Estimated memory capacity was always higher when color duplicates were tested, and under full attention conditions this bonus spilled over to the unique colors too. Analyses of gazes showed that with full attention, participants tended to glance earlier at duplicate colors during stimulus presentation but looked more at unique colors during the retention interval. This pattern of results suggests that the color-sharing bonus reflects efficient perceptual organization of the display based on the presence of repetitions, and possibly strategic attention allocation when attention is available.

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  • This dataset is part of ICPSR's Archives of Scientific Psychology journal database. Users should contact the Editorial Office at the American Psychological Association for information on requesting data access.


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Study Description


Morey, Candice. Color-sharing Bonus Project 1, Groningen/Idaho, 2013. ICPSR35640-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-01-27.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    cognitive functioning, cognitive processes, memory, perceptions

Geographic Coverage:    Groningen, Idaho, Netherlands, United States

Time Period:   

  • 2013-02--2013-06

Date of Collection:   

  • 2013-02--2013-06

Unit of Observation:    Individual

Universe:    Humans with typical visual sensory and intellectual abilities.

Data Type(s):    experimental data


Sample:    We advertised the possibility to participate to students who needed to complete experimental credits for courses and to the general local population for a small honorarium. We scheduled willing participants to available timeslots on a first-come, first-served basis.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Mode of Data Collection:    cognitive assessment test

Presence of Common Scales:    Visual change detection, a same/change recognition memory task


Original ICPSR Release:   2015-01-27


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