Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lexicon of Madness -- Zeigarnik Effect

Bluma Zeigarnik Psychologist Russian in Austria

Zeigarnik Effect: Refers to the finding that uncompleted tasks are remembered better than completed ones. Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik (1901-1988) had participants begin simple tasks (e.g., making clay figures, solving arithmetic problems). She let participants complete some tasks but interrupted them before they could complete others. A few hours later, she asked them about the tasks and found that the participants had better and more detailed recall for the tasks that had been left uncompleted than for those that had been completed. The Zeigarnik effect suggests that it might be best to complete your unfinished business, because unfinished tasks may be using a significant amount of your mental resources, even when you are not directly attending to them.


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