Color is key for the visual encoding of data, yet its use reportedly affects decision making in important ways. We examined the impact of various popular color schemes on experts’ and lay peoples’ map-based decisions in two, geography and neuroscience, scenarios, in an online visualization experiment. We found that changes in color mappings influence domain experts, especially neuroimaging experts, more in their decision-making than novices. Geographic visualization experts exhibited more trust in the unfavorable rainbow color scale than would have been predicted by their suitability ratings and their training, which renders them sensitive to scale appropriateness. Our empirical results make a strong call for increasing scientists’ awareness for and training in perceptually salient and cognitively informed design principles in data visualization.