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Fewer than half of people can remember what the Apple logo looks like from picturesReuters

The Apple logo is one of the recognisable in the world, yet most people are unable to accurately recall what it looks like when tested, a study has found.

Before you read on, test whether or not you can remember what the logo looks like (without cheating).

Publishing their findings in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles said the reason people cannot remember logos is because we are constantly bombarded with them.

"The ubiquitous Apple logo is a simple design and is often referred to as one of the most recognisable logos in the world," they wrote. "The present study examined recall and recognition for this simple and pervasive logo and to what degree metamemory (confidence judgements) match memory performance."

Findings showed a huge disparity between how confident people were of being able to recall the logo and their actual ability.

Participants were asked to draw the Apple logo – including the shape, bite size and leaf shape and orientation. Only one participant in 85 was able to correctly recall the logo by drawing it, while fewer than half were able to identify it from pictures provided.

Researchers also rated their confidence before and after the drawing task in a separate study to see if the experience would provide an insight into the real accuracy of their memories.

"Importantly, participants indicated higher levels of confidence for both recall and recognition, and this overconfidence was reduced if participants made the judgements after, rather than before, drawing the logo."

The authors say the study has important implications for human memory, adding support to current theories about attentional saturation and reconstructive memory, as well as showing how availability can lead to overconfidence in memory.

"Increased exposure increases familiarity and confidence, but does not reliably affect memory. Despite frequent exposure to a simple and visually pleasing logo, attention and memory are not always tuned to remembering what we may think is memorable."

Concluding, they said: "Most people have experience with the Apple logo and may engage in various strategies to recall the features that may in fact lead to memory for certain details, or idealised versions of the information in question [...]

"Participants may have drawn what they felt an optimal Apple logo should look like instead of what they remembered it to look like, especially since some of the participants' drawings generally resembled an apple, resulting in an assortment of both correct and incorrect features as well as locations of these details.

"A potential mechanistic account for poor memory for the Apple logo may be a form of attentional saturation, which could then later result in 'inattentional amnesia'. People are often exposed to this logo and may then stop attending to the details of the logo, perhaps due to its simplicity and availability."