Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Brain to Remember the Color of Something

Whether you’re collecting paint or trying to pair some garments, here’s the reason why you better distrust your memory and take a picture instead.

The human eye can distinguish millions of colors, but it turns out that our brains can hardly remember the exact shades of these colors. A recent study by cognitive psychologist Jonathan Flombaum and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that exact hues fade into the background because colors are automatically flagged in our brains as common “best version” colors. Flombaum explains in a press release from Johns Hopkins University :

“When I tried to pick a color for retouching, I ended up making a mistake. This is because I would incorrectly remember my wall as more typically blue. According to Sherwin-Williams, it may be green, but I remember it as blue … We can distinguish millions of colors, but our brain has a trick to store this information. We mark the color with a rough mark. This makes our memories more biased, but still quite rewarding. “

Basically, your brain uses a shortcut to help you remember an overall color, but it won’t waste energy remembering the exact shade. So the next time you’re struggling to remember the correct shade of paint, don’t do it. Take a sample, find an old labeled paint can, or even take a photo. No matter how good your memory is, your brain simply won’t let you do it.

Why Some Colors Appear More Memorable Than Others | Journal of Experimental Psychology via Johns Hopkins University


Leave a Reply