Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Power Of First And Last…

When training or teaching, it is wise to remember that the position of items on a list or as part of an event has an effect on how easy or difficult it will be to remember it.

For example, recall the last time that you were at a gas station and asked for directions. Tell me what you remember after you attempted to trace the directions a stranger just finished giving you at that gas station.

I know lots of you have GPS gadgets but the fact of the matter is that the likelihood that you will recall everything is not that high.

Research studies that focus on memory reveal that there is a serial position effect.

What that means is that recall is better at the beginning (primacy) and end (recency) of a list or event than for items or events in the middle. That’s why you can trace the first few steps and the last few steps you were given but for some reason you have major difficulty recalling the essential and specific details of the middle pathways that will take you to your final destination.

The idea that first impressions are lasting impressions has lots of support at a job interview but also when recalling a list, or even an event in your personal life.

Moreover the last thing that you say or the last interaction that you have with others also will have a lasting effect.

So when speaking with your friends or teaching a group, keep in mind the primacy and recency effects and how you can use this finding to communicate and present information more powerfully.

Be sure to leave a comment below and share with us…
Your view or a story that engaged these powerful effects!

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3 Responses to “The Power Of First And Last…”
  1. Very interesting Miriam! I really never thought about it or looked at it this way. I guess that is why some of us use notes to remember everything. But I do agree with you that when I get verbal direction I only recall the 1st and last. Thanks for sharing your post.

    • Miriam Buhr says:

      Yusuf, I’ve taught this concept live to my students and the ones that didn’t believe its power by the end of the presentation were avid believers. The mind is powerful but with added techniques we can enhance and extend its possibilities!

      Thank you for reflecting on this information and stopping by to share your experience with it.
      See you soon,


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