The effects of light blue and white backgrounds on the brain activity of Web-based English tests' takers

Atsuko K. Yamazaki, Shinji Koizumi, Hitomi Shimada, Kaoru Eto

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this study, the authors conducted an experiment to see how the background color of Web-based tests (WBTs) can affect the brain activities of Web-based test takers in relation to their performance. Thirty subjects in their twenties took Web-based English grammar tests and also performed circle-counting tasks on a computer screen with white and light blue backgrounds. For both background colors, text and symbols were presented in black. Two-dimensional images of hemoglobin (Hb) concentration changes in the brain of each subject were recorded by using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). On both the English tests and the counting tasks, the scores of the subjects were higher on average with the light blue background than with the white background. The NIRS signals obtained in the experiment showed that areas in the brain associated with linguistic tasks tended to have higher Hb concentrations for the light blue background than for the white background, and indicated that the linguistic area was more active when the subjects took the tests with the light blue background. These results suggest that a light blue color may be a better choice for the background color of a WBT, even though a white background is often used for WBTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1262-1269
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Computer Science
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational Conference on Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, KES 2014 - Gdynia, Poland
Duration: 2014 Sept 152014 Sept 17


  • Background and text colors
  • Brain functions
  • Broca's area
  • NIRS
  • Test performance
  • Web-based test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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