1% Everyday – The Von Restorff isolation effect – memory

Hedwig von Restorff is remembered for her contributions to research on memory.

“The isolation effect is a well-known memory phenomenon.

If all but one item of a list are similar on some dimension, memory for the different item will be enhanced.

Modern theory of the isolation effect emphasizes perceptual salience and accompanying differential attention to the isolated item as necessary for enhanced memory.” – R. REED HUNT

This marketing agency has the best video I can find so far to explain the Von Restorff effect in design:

If you can get past the horrible voice the information in here is solid:


Consider the following:

  • Use the ideas around isolation and distinction your designs when you are seeking to get people to remember something when they walk away … advertisements, a presentation, a training
  • Most UX videos I came across did not understand the point of the research and findings. Just creating a design with isolation and distinction may also look good and draw attention but the reason that is done is more about Gestalt principles of visual perception not isolation effect for memory

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