A Memorable Drumroll, Please

Day #3 in my study of what makes an image memorable presents an image which got a perfect score from the MIT image memorability algorithm. I’ve a way to go in this little study, but wanted to show this example (without entirely understanding the reason it was judged to be perfect).

Images are from my 12/21/15 Christmas Cactus series post

mem perfect

The “heat maps” show which image elements add (or not) to its memorability. Warmer is better (think ROY G BIV – red, orange,… indigo, violet). The score is the probability that a human viewer who has previously seen an image will remember having seen it when it is shown again. In this case adding the greeting increased the probability 3.6%.

I skimmed through an extract of the MIT 60,000 image test database and the highest score present was 0.99, so this image is pretty rare.


While fooling around I discovered a second perfect-score-image in one of my posts on contrast-and-vision. Here it is:

A green square with a white border (or is it a white square with a green center?)

2015-12-31_7-57-00

I’ll return to this simple but perfect image in a later post (spoiler alert):

  • It’s no longer perfect if the border is black and not white
    • My wife was on to something when I was using a black background in my Christmas Cactus series and she questioned it
  • I tried all eight combinations of red, green, blue, and yellow centers with both black and white backgrounds. It seems;
    • White makes for a more memorable image
    • Effect of center color TBD
  • These results offer clues & insights (to me anyway) into the memorability puzzle

So what? Good question. Intellectual curiosity at the moment.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.