Think of a corporation logo that you see all the time, perhaps on a daily basis. If you were asked to draw that logo right now (with no peeking), would you be able to do it?
Most likely not, according to findings from a new study in which only one out of 85 students was able to draw the famous Apple logo from memory.
The research, conducted by psychologists from the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA), found that out of 85 UCLA undergraduate students, only one could correctly reproduce the Apple logo when asked to draw it on a blank sheet of paper.
In fact, fewer than half of the students were able to identify the Apple logo when it was pictured alongside a number of similar logos with slightly altered features.
Many participants, however, believed they would be able to draw the logo correctly before they were asked to do so.
“There was a striking discrepancy between participants’ confidence prior to drawing the logo and how well they performed on the task,” said senior author Dr. Alan Castel, an associate professor of psychology at UCLA. “People’s memory, even for extremely common objects, is much poorer than they believe it to be.”
One interesting finding was that there was no difference in Apple logo recognition between Apple users and PC users: Fifty-two of the participants were Apple users, 23 students used both Apple and PC products, and 10 were PC users.
“People had trouble picking out the correct logo even when it was right in front of them,” said Castel, who showed in 2012 that most people did not know the location of a bright red fire extinguisher near their office, even though they had walked by it hundreds or thousands of times.
How is it possible that the Apple logo, one of the world’s most recognizable symbols, simply gets bypassed by the brain?
One explanation may be that our brains have decided that it’s not important to remember specific details. An efficient memory system does not need to remember the details of a corporate logo, except perhaps to distinguish counterfeit products, the researchers concluded.
Previous research has found that most people have a poor memory for many items they encounter daily or almost daily, including computer keyboards (even skilled typists have difficulty describing a standard keyboard), pennies, and road signs.
The findings are published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.