Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memory Games - The Primacy Effect

"People remember the first and the last things". This saying? refers the primacy and the recency effect. They describe memory effects that have been observed when people memorize lists of words. The effect was that people remembered the first and the last items on the list best. These effects are of interest because we can use them to have people remember stuff better and how to use this for various improvements.


First, the saying is slightly incorrect, because the explanation for the primacy effect is usually forgotten. The primacy effect refers to remembering the first items in the list, because when trying to memorize lists of words, people tend to start from the top over and over again. That means they have seen those items most often. When we try to reproduce the effect this has to be beared in mind.

We can reproduce the primacy on everything that is repeated. A few examples:
  • regular classes: If you have weekly classes, if you always start the same way, people will remember this better. This is not very interesting yet. The interesting part is that if you use the warm-up to change the atmosphere, people will remember not only the beginning, but also the feeling or change of feeling when they come to your class. Now the only thing it needs to make them feel happy and energized(or whatever atmosphere you create at the beginning of your class), is to think of your class.

Same goes for workshops classes, if they are associated with a certain couple.
  • movements: If you always start with putting the rhythm in your body and getting together before you start, people will when they think of a movement always remember the getting together part in the beginning. That is something I've seen people lack, and as you know - it's easier to dance together once you're sharing the same rhythm.

As for all effects I mention on my blog, I encourage you to use it and find more applications of it!

Got a good way of how to use the primacy effect in class? Share it in the comment section!