Zeigarnik Effect

1702 WordsSep 24, 20147 Pages
The Zeigarnik Effect is a little-known psychological phenomenon that says that we are more motivated to complete interrupted and incomplete tasks than we are to start new ones. In other words, if we are doing a task, in an interested and motivated way, and have to stop doing it, we 'll find it hard to settle until we get back to the task and finish it. This effect has interesting implications for the way we work. But before we give you 3 tips on how to apply the Zeigarnik effect, (that 's an example of how to use the effect, by the way), here 's how it got its name. How the Zeigarnik Effect Was Discovered The Zeigarnik Effect is named after Bluma Zeigarnik, a Russian psychologist, who was born in 1901 and worked with Kurt Lewin in…show more content…
The waiter 's trick is thus to keep spinning the plates of the open orders whilst letting those which are completed fall. A similar effect also happens over a longer period as we worry about those things in which we have not achieved closure. Thus, I might keep thinking about a problem at work over a whole weekend as it keeps coming back to haunt me. So what? To confuse people, give them lots of things to remember by starting to talk about something and then, before completing it, start some other story. After four or five of these initiations, they will be so busy trying to remember the status of the stories they will put less attention into countering the arguments and ideas you are putting forward. When teaching a multi-day course, give them a problem at the end of the day. By the next day they will have thought hard about it. To remember things for examinations, do something that is incomplete, such that the ongoing thinking helps keep important facts in mind. See also Tension principle, Completion principle, Closure principle, Von Restorff Effect Zeigarnik, B.V. (1927). Über das Behalten von erledigten und unerledigten Handlungen (The Retention of Completed and Uncompleted Activities), Psychologische Forschung, 9, 1-85 Zeigarnik, B.V. (1967). On is finished and unfinished tasks. In W. D. Ellis (Ed.), A source book of Gestalt psychology, New York: Humanities Press III
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