ERIC Number: ED270802
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug
Reader Reactions to Color in Newspapers.
Bohle, Robert H.; Garcia, Mario R.
In order to discover reader reactions to color on a newspaper page, specifically eye movement and overall opinion of the paper, identical pages were created and printed by the "St. Petersburg Times" (Florida). The content of fifteen front pages, six lifestyles pages, and three sports front pages were nearly identical, differing only in the kind and amount of color used. These were presented to 83 representative readers from three cities: Richmond, Virginia; Fresno, California; and St. Petersburg, Florida. Subjects' verbal responses to questions about where their eyes first fell and where they fell next were coded by trained interviewers. To test opinions, the subjects rated the pages on 20 word-pair scales, which were divided into five general factors: evaluative, ethical, stylistic, potency, and activity. In another test of opinions, the readers were presented with the five pages in all possible pairs (10) and asked to select one page over the other on a word of interest, such as "important" (e.g., one of the pages would be "more important"). Color clearly made a difference in eye movement, and even though the main photo on all the pages drew the most attention, color reduced its power. The use of color does not seem to lower opinion about the ethical nature of the newspaper, and readers did not make assumptions about believability or importance based on the appearance of the paper alone. But because color does make a paper appear more interesting, pleasant, exciting, and powerful, a publisher might do well to use color, providing that the quality is good. A literature review of the psychological effects of color is included. (SRT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (69th, Norman, OK, August 3-6, 1986).