Doors for memory: A searchable database

Alan D Baddeley, Graham J Hitch, Philip T Quinlan, Lindsey Bowes, Rob Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of human long-term memory has, for over 50 years been dominated by research on words. This is partly due to lack of suitable non-verbal materials. Experience in developing a clinical test suggested that door scenes can provide an ecologically relevant and sensitive alternative to the faces and geometrical figures traditionally used to study visual memory. In pursuing this line of research we have accumulated over 2000 door scenes providing a database that is categorised on a range of variables including building type, colour, age, condition, glazing and a range of other physical characteristics. We describe an illustrative study of recognition memory for 100 doors tested by Yes/No, two-alternative or four-alternative forced-choice paradigms. These stimuli, together with the full categorised database are available through a dedicated website. We suggest that door scenes provide an ecologically relevant and participant-friendly source of material for studying the comparatively neglected field of visual long-term memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2015

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