Zeigarnik Effect
UIUX 360 / 22-December-2022 / minute read

Zeigarnik Effect

The Zeigarnik effect is the tendency for tasks that are interrupted and incomplete to be remembered better than tasks that are completed.

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What is Zeigarnik Effect?

Overview

The Zeigarnik effect is the tendency for tasks that are interrupted and incomplete to be remembered better than tasks that are completed. The Zeigarnik effect may improve mental health by providing the motivation needed to complete tasks.

The Zeigarnik Effect is a psychological phenomenon that refers to the tendency of people to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks or activities more vividly and with greater accuracy than completed tasks. It was first observed by the Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik in the 1920s.

According to the Zeigarnik Effect, when people start a task but do not complete it, the task remains in their memory with a sense of unresolved tension or cognitive dissonance. This creates an increased level of mental arousal, which can result in better retention of task-related information. In contrast, completed tasks are less likely to be remembered as they no longer carry the same level of tension or cognitive dissonance.

The Zeigarnik Effect has been demonstrated in various studies and has implications for memory, motivation, and cognitive processing. It suggests that incomplete tasks or unresolved situations can create a cognitive burden that can influence memory and motivation. For example, it can lead to increased motivation to complete unfinished tasks or can affect people's ability to focus on new tasks due to the lingering presence of incomplete ones in their memory.

The Zeigarnik Effect has been applied in various domains, including education, marketing, and productivity strategies, to leverage the impact of incomplete tasks on memory and motivation. For instance, in marketing, it can be used to create a sense of unfinished curiosity or suspense in advertisements or promotional materials, which may enhance memory and engagement. In productivity strategies, it can be utilized by breaking down larger tasks into smaller, manageable sub-tasks to create a sense of progress and motivation.

Overall, the Zeigarnik Effect is a psychological phenomenon that highlights the impact of incomplete tasks on memory and motivation, and it has been widely studied and applied in various fields to understand human behavior and improve performance.

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