category: UIUX 360

Serial Position Effect

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Serial Position Effect

What is Serial Position Effect?


The serial position effect states "users have a tendency to best remember the first and last items in a series." Having the least important items in the middle of the lists can be helpful because these items are stored less frequently in long-term and working memory. It describes how our memory is affected by the position of the elements in a sequence.

The serial position effect is the intellectual tendency to remember the first and last items in a list better than others in the middle. The ordinal position effect is a form of cognitive bias and includes both the primacy effect and the recency effect.

This suggests that we best remember the first and last items in a series and find it difficult to remember the middle items. Placing key actions on the leftmost and rightmost sides of elements such as navigation can increase recall.

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