A preliminary examination of the effect of white and blue backgrounds on Web-based English listening tests

Atsuko K. Yamazaki, Hitomi Shimada, Kaoru Eto

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Previous studies conducted by Yamazaki and Eto on the background colors of on-line tests indicated that a combination of black text and a white background color was not considered preferable for Web-based tests (WBTs). In this study, the authors conducted an experiment to see if a background color can affect the scores of a Web-based English listing test. Thirty three subjects in their twenties took Web-based English listening tests and non-linguistic tests with blue and white background colors with black text. The average test scores of the subjects showed no significant differences between the blue and white backgrounds. The brain functions of the subjects were also examined by observing relative changes in hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations in their brains with near-infrared spectroscopy. Two dimensional images of the Hb concentration changes obtained in the experiment indicated that areas in the brain associated with language processing tended to have higher Hb concentrations while the subjects were taking the listening test with both background colors. On the other hand, areas in the brain related to the frontal eye field were observed to be more active while they were taking the test with the white background than with the blue background, even though the questionnaire result obtained from the subjects showed that they felt more tired when they took the tests with the combination of black text and a blue background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-536
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Computer Science
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event17th International Conference in Knowledge Based and Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, KES 2013 - Kitakyushu, Japan
Duration: 2013 Sept 92013 Sept 11


  • Background colors
  • Brain functions
  • Brodmann Area
  • English listening
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Test performance
  • Web-based test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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