Testing the “Peak-End” Rule

Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.

Total Assets = Total Liabilities plus Total Equity

Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania.

Future value of a lump sum = Present value of the lump sum * [(1 plus the interest rate) raised to the number of years]

Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.

Here is an email that behavioral economist Dan Ariely recently received:

Dear Dan,

Recently I gave a talk as part of an online conference. There were lots of technical problems at the beginning, which made me get flustered and trip over my words. But eventually, I regained my composure and the talk ended well. Afterward, I heard that the attendees responded very positively to my presentation, which surprised me given the rocky start. I’m wondering if maybe people just felt bad for me? —Talya

And here is Dan’s answer:

If the audience gave equal weight to every minute of your talk you might have ended up with a lukewarm response. But when people reflect on experiences they tend to follow the “peak-end rule,” meaning they are most influenced by the high point and the end of the experience. This worked to your advantage, since people remembered the end of your talk better than the beginning. Next time you give a talk, remember that even if you get off to a bad start, you shouldn’t get too stressed because you still have time to fix things.

I just want to say how much I appreciate all of you who read and like and comment on my blog. Your support means a great deal, and I feel honored to be part of the WordPress community. I hope all of you are having a wonderful weekend…


32 thoughts on “Testing the “Peak-End” Rule

  1. I guess the key is keeping them around until the end. What if they walk out ahead of time and don’t see the grand finale?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. that’s so good to know, as I’m always very nervous when public speaking, though I can talk an individual or small group’s ears off, much to their dismay perhaps. and thanks to you too jim, for being here with us

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And here I thought you were going to talk about Harrisburg, my birthplace!
    But the ending was more exciting.
    You are welcome. Its my pleasure to come here and read and comment. Now I am getting a piece of chocolate cake. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree with this phenomena, that is why I always try to close big in my poetry. I have always thought that it is the last few lines that really stick in most reader’s heads. I love your attempt at making the beginning unmemorable, but it did fall short of being a low point. I was excited thinking I was going to learn some cool accounting wizardry. Keep up the great work, Q!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking of your poems while I was reading about the peak-end rule, since you always end with a memorable line or two. You would definitely be in the minority wanting to know a little accounting… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Noted. The slight difference between a presentation and a blog entry is that most people will not get up and leave a presentation after just a few minutes, while a reader may not wait until the grand finale if the beginning is boring or flustered. I think I just learned that it is easier to save a presentation than write a good blog post. Damn. Side note, your blah blah blah actually caught my attention and made me want to read all the way to the end. Than again, I always do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good point about a presentation vs a blog post. I don’t think I’ve had lots of students walk out during my lectures to allegedly use the bathroom, but there is a also a good chance they are bored to death. And I agree that it is hard to write a good blog post, I wish I knew the secret!

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