People are shockingly bad at drawing the Apple logo from memory

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Student drawings of the Apple logo. Photo: Blake, et all 2015.
Student drawings of the Apple logo. Photo: Blake, et all 2015.

Apple has one of the most iconic logos in pop culture. Go into any coffee shop and you’ll be assaulted by an array of glowing MacBook lids and shiny iPhone screens, but it turns out that drawing the Apple logo from memory is shockingly hard.

A new study conducted by UCLA researchers found only one out of 85 undergraduate students could accurately draw the iconic logo from memory. If you’re think maybe they just weren’t familiar with the Apple logo, you haven’t been to a college campus in a while.

The difficulty of drawing Apple’s ubiquitous logo actually tells us something about human memory and how we form a ‘gist memory’ of objects and symbols we become too familiar with.

A mix of Apple and PC users were asked to draw the Apple logo from memory and were then scored based on accuracy of the overall shape, bite size, bite location, leaf shape, and leaf orientation. Only one participant drew a perfect Apple. Seven others had minimal errors.

Research Digest psychologist Christian Jarrett explains why it can be so hard to recall the logo:

“the over-exposure to, and availability of, the Apple logo stops people attending to its details (this makes sense from a functional perspective — why bother remembering something that’s ever present?). Consequently people form a gist memory for the logo (i.e. “it’s an apple”) and they end up drawing ‘what it should look like instead of what they remembered it to look like,’ [the researchers write]. The researchers predict the same might be true for the coloured letters of the ubiquitous Google logo, and other highly familiar logos.”

For the record, Apple users only performed marginally better than PC users. Students were asked how confident they were in their drawings and the average was a moderately confident 5.47 on a scale of 1-10.

Think you’d be way better at this test than the others? You can try it yourself right here.