What Makes An Image Memorable?

Many believe memorability is subjective – i.e. the same Facebook pictures will stand out for some but fade away for others. Yet decades of research have proven this false. The ability of an image to stick with someone over time is actually a function of its subject(s) and composition.

Studies show we remember images in proportion to how distinct they are. Strange, counterintuitive pictures will make an impact—e.g. “a stop sign spray-painted with the word ‘go’, a peculiar chair, a man in a sumo suit dragging a snowboard or a shirtless man wearing a bear mask” (McFarland 2015).

According to a 2013 MIT study, photos of people are among the most memorable.

In contrast, photos of nature tend to be less impressive.

Conflict and suspense win — be it a pair of scissors in flight — or a man standing in front of a bear. Photos of bedrooms generally induce yawns.”

Negative images are more memorable than positive ones; those evoking disgust, anger, and fear often stick, as opposed to those, revealing awe or contentment.

Amusing images, however, remain unforgettable.

A grown man’s head sticking up from a colorful plastic ball pit in a playland; a giant monster balloon, towering over a highway of small white moving cars; bright colored urinals in an otherwise plain public bathroom – these juxtapositions are proven to stick.

Valt developed out of this critical and active domain of research; we have carefully selected images that are whimsical, incredible, and odd – then paired those images with engaging text. Our curation of images is crucial to Valt’s effectiveness. These inherent characteristics will make it easier than you think to quickly internalize your images and, as a result, your password.

Not only will Valt’s memorable images keep your data safe, but studies also reveal that seeing memorable images over time has the potential to improve human memory overall. So, get smart + use Valt.

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