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?)


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.

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