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Primacy Effect

Edited by: Published: 2008
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The primacy effect is one aspect of a well-known phenomenon called the "serial position effect," which occurs when one is asked to recall information from memory. The other aspect of the serial position effect is the recency effect. Psychologists discovered these effects more than a century ago; for example, in the 1890s, Mary Whilton Calkins experimented with these effects while she was a student of William James. Essentially, the serial position effect means that the recall of a list of items is easiest for a few items at the end of the list and for a few items at the beginning of the list. The recall of items in the middle of the list is generally poor. The primacy effect refers to the recall of ...

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