First Advisor

Nancy A. Perrin

Term of Graduation

Winter 1993

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Automobile license plates -- Oregon, Color



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vi, 66 pages)


This study investigated character color changes on the current Oregon license plate in an attempt to rectify character recognition problems currently experienced with personalized license plates. Red-violet, brown, and purple were tested against the blue color currently used on the Oregon license plate's characters. Aesthetic-preference analyses were conducted to ensure that the potential character color changes maintained the appeal of the current plate. A standard recognition paradigm was used to test errors in letter recognition for the 4 colors.

Fifty-four subjects with normal or corrected normal visual acuity and normal color vision were solicited from undergraduate psychology courses. All 54 volunteers participated in the first experiment which scaled preferences of the four character color alternatives using Thurstonian scaling. Fifty subjects were used in the second experiment which examined character recognition differences. The analyses focused on the center character of a 3- character string positioned with the central character on the green tree.

Thurstonian scaling results indicated that the current blue character color was most preferred and brown was least preferred. ANOVA results found significant differences in character recognition between the four colors. The current blue color yielded the best character recognition, followed by red violet, purple and then brown. The findings were not congruent with Indow's (1988) study suggesting colors further removed from green on the color cognitive map should produce superior character recognition. A theoretical explanation of the results indicating that brightness differences, not hue, may have led to blue's superior performance is discussed.


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