Typography and color: effects of salience and fluency on conscious recollective experience

Psychol Res. 2004 Dec;69(1-2):138-46. doi: 10.1007/s00426-003-0162-5. Epub 2004 Jan 14.


Within one experiment the central assumptions of the distinctiveness/fluency account of recollective experience were tested and contrasted with predictions of processing theory. To manipulate perceptual salience, the typography of words was varied. Effects of conceptual salience were induced by a variation of word color. In the study phase participants generated different word or object images according to presented words. To manipulate perceptual and conceptual fluency one test group underwent a priming procedure in the test phase, consisting of a recognition test, whereby some primes were identical to the target words typographically or by color and others were not. Additionally, all participants were asked to make judgments of recollective experience (remember, know, guess) after the old/new decisions. The results of the data analyses confirm the distinctiveness/fluency account. Words written in an unusual typography or color were judged significantly more often as "remembered" than normal words. The priming procedure uncovered some effects of fluency on reaction times: old/new decisions took less time if prime and target words were perceptually or conceptually identical.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Cognition
  • Color Perception*
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Memory*
  • Publishing*
  • Vocabulary