What Role Does Color Play In The Learning Environment?

If you close your eyes right now and picture your favorite outfit, room, car, or workspace you probably will visualize each of those objects or places in specific colors. The action of recalling those objects may have been made easier because of their colors. The link between color and brain activity is a well-established scientific principle that has been studied for decades.

Color and Brain Response

Now, new information regarding the areas of the brain color affects and its influence on memory retention and learning has allowed neuroscientists to greatly expand their knowledge on how color affects us. With more sensitive brain imaging technology, neuroscientists at Harvard medical school were able to redefine the areas of the brain that were initially thought to respond to colors.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) neuroscientists were able to more accurately pinpoint the region of the brain that first acknowledges the colors of an image. From there other areas of the brain related to detecting motion, shapes, edges, and transitions also light up. This means that the effects of color on our brains is much more involved and complicated than what scientists initially thought.

So what does this mean for color and learning? In 2002, researchers discovered that test takers who took standardized pattern recognition tests performed 5 to 10 percent better when those tests were administered in color. They also had boosted and increased memory over time as long as the colors depicted could be considered “realistic”. Random colorization of objects and patterns did not seem to have any effect on memory or pattern recognition.

This means that color plays a key role in taking in information that will allow us to survive in our natural environment. As a result, these bright colors could be utilized in an academic setting to assist with information retention, and visual aids to increase memory over time. Not only should educators consider utilizing color coded tests and print materials instead of black and white, they should also consider the functional use of color in the actual learning environment.

This could significantly improve a student’s ability to learn, concentrate and remember information discussed in class. For example, within a high school classroom the use of calming colors such as blue can have a positive effect on heart rate leading to greater productivity and to help students pay attention in class. Whereas red and orange can have the effect of being an energizer and a mood lifter.

How to achieve color consistency

Color consistency is important as differences in shades can be jarring to concentration whereas a consistent application of color appears seamless. A way of conducting a color consistency test is to use a Spectrophotometer this is key in achieving a consistent color scheme. A spectrophotometer uses it’s own light source so that color perception is not impacted by the available light when analyzing the sample. Konica Minolta Sensing have a range of both portable and benchtop spectrophotometers that can achieve color consistency when creating these educational aids.

Featured models are:

  • CM-36dG: A bench-top spectrophotometer with an integrated ISO 2813 compliant 60° gloss sensor inside to measure color and true gloss simultaneously.
  • CM-26dG: Portable sphere spectrophotometer with an integrated 60-degree gloss sensor allowing distinct color and appearance measurements within one instrument.  
  • CM-700d: Portable measurement instrument designed to evaluate the color and appearance of samples very small to large in size, including objects with flat, shaped, or curved surfaces.
  • CM-5: A bench-top measurement instrument designed to evaluate color and appearance of opaque, transparent, and translucent samples.

If you’re interested in reading other ways color can have an impact on us; we explain in this blog how color can even affect how we take our medicine.


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