Psychology 101: Pancakes vs Long Lines

WELCOME BACK TO ANOTHER PSYCHOLOGY 101! (The caps show how pumped I am to write this). Time really flies huh? Especially for those who keep forgetting when their articles are due 🙂

As I just admitted to all of you I am a little absent minded in terms of this whole ~ remembering to write thing ~ so I didn’t really have anything planned for this article. So! I’m going to mooch of the DP psychology content once again! But don’t worry, I only choose the interesting and easy info for you guys 😉

What are we learning today you ask? I’m going to tell you about something called the “peak end bias.”

What is the peak-end bias?

Peak-end bias suggests with every experience or event there is a peak – the high point of event – and the end. Which is, you know, how the event ends.

Peak-end bias determines how you feel about an experience or an event that happened to you.

To better understand this I’ll give you two scenarios:

SCENARIO 1: You plan a day out with your friends and you have a blast. You eat pancakes for lunch and sing horrendously at karaoke. As you and your friends head home you run into one of your favourite singers. You freak out and go talk to them – but it turns out they’re just someone who looks exactly like the singer but in actual fact are just a stranger. You’re extremely disappointed.

SCENARIO 2: You and your friends go to meet your favourite singer. You had no sleep the night before because you were so excited. It’s really hot outside and you stand in line for hours. To top it off your shoes break and one of your friends has to leave because their mum is mad at them. After all that though you still get to meet the singer for a few minutes and take a selfie with them.

The peak-end bias suggests that if people had experienced both those scenarios and had to pick which one they enjoyed more they would most likely pick scenario 2.

Why is that?

This is because scenario 2 ended more favourably even though scenario 1 had a better overall experience. This demonstrates that the peak-end bias alters our feelings towards an event as our feelings would be more positive at the end of scenario 2 our overall feelings of the event would be positive as well. Scenario 2, all though generally more favourable, ended with negative emotions making the overall experience a negative one.

Do we all experience peak-end bias?

Probably! But it isn’t completely in control of our lives. Most of us experience the peak-end bias without consciously implementing it, but if we train ourselves we can consciously become aware that this bias clouds our views and then do something about it.  

How would we do that?

To live an experience without the peak-end bias you need to try and think in a “glass-half full” kind of way. After you go out or to an event or something figure out what you’re feeling. Then once you’ve done that figure out if you’re feeling this way because of events that actually took place, or because of our the event ended.

This helps because if you felt sucky at the end of the night because you got gum in your hair you can look back and realize that the night wasn’t all the bad! See, glass half full 🙂

So! That’s all I have for you guys today. Remember glass half full (or even glass completely full is the best. Though that might be pushing it). See you next time!






2 Comments Add yours

  1. mansidhaundiyal says:

    Good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petraemw says:

      cheers mate 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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