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What is Peak-End Theory? A Psychologist Explains How Our Memory Fools Us

Update March 2019: This is article on peak-end theory has been updated and extended.

We’ll walk you through the psychology behind the peak-end theory, relevant research supporting it, and how it relates to pain and pleasure. As you will see, implications for understanding the peak-end theory can be game-changing, as it impacts many areas of life.

It may surprise you to hear how biased we are in how we form memories from our experiences. Even when we think we are recalling facts about an experience, our recollection of events is typically incomplete and heavily dependent upon the feelings we were having during the experience.

It seems that our memories of positive and negative experiences are dependent upon two things: what we were feeling at the most extreme (peak) point and how the experience ended. Our memories are typically not an average of the experience or the amount of time we were engaged in the situation.

This psychological heuristic explains why we can actually be irrational in our recollection and memory of events. It also suggests that our memories consist of a series of highlights rather than a thorough record of facts and events.

Click here for the full article: https://positivepsychology.com/what-is-peak-end-theory/