Category Archives: Psychology Phenomena

Psychology Phenomena {16} ~ The Von Restorff Effect/Isolation Effect

The Von Restorff effect, also known as the “isolation effect”, predicts that when multiple homogeneous stimuli are presented, the stimulus that differs from the rest is more likely to be remembered. The theory was coined by German psychiatrist and pediatrician Hedwig von Restorff (1906–1962), who, in her 1933 study, found that when participants were presented with a list of categorically similar items with one distinctive, isolated item on the list, memory for the item was improved.

The study utilized the isolation paradigm, which refers to a distinctive feature of an item in a list that differs from the others by way of dimension. Such distinctiveness, leading to the von Restorff effect, can be generated from changing the meaningfulness or physical nature of the stimulus in some way, such as in size, shape, color, spacing and underlining.

Psychology Phenomena {15} ~ Zeigarnik Effect

Named after Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, in psychology the Zeigarnik effect occurs when an activity that has been interrupted may be more readily recalled. It postulates that people remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. In Gestalt psychology, the Zeigarnik effect has been used to demonstrate the general presence of Gestalt phenomena: not just appearing as perceptual effects, but also present in cognition.

The Zeigarnik effect should not be confused with the Ovsiankina effect. Maria Ovsiankina, a colleague of Zeigarnik, investigated the effect of task interruption on the tendency to resume the task at the next opportunity.

Psychology Phenomena {14} ~ The Google Effect

The Google effect, also called digital amnesia, is the tendency to forget information that can be found readily online by using Internet search engines. According to the first study about the Google effect people are less likely to remember certain details they believe will be accessible online. However, the study also claims that people’s ability to learn information offline remains the same. This effect may also be seen as a change to what information and what level of detail is considered to be important to remember.

Psychology Phenomena {13} ~ The Novelty Effect

The novelty effect, in the context of human performance, is the tendency for performance to initially improve when new technology is instituted, not because of any actual improvement in learning or achievement, but in response to increased interest in the new technology.

The Metropolitan Education and Research Consortium of the Virginia Commonwealth University states, “While it is possible that higher attention spans can be attributed to novelty effect, even after the initial novelty wears off, the level of interest in the automated workbook is still greater than that in the regular workbook. The increased attention by students sometimes results in increased effort or persistence, which yields achievement gains. If they are due to a novelty effect, these gains tend to diminish as students become more familiar with the new medium. This was the case in reviews of computer-assisted instruction at the secondary school level, grades 6 to 12.

Psychology Phenomena {12} ~ The Coolidge Effect

The Coolidge effect is a biological phenomenon seen in animals, whereby males exhibit renewed sexual interest whenever a new female is introduced to have sex with, even after cessation of sex with prior but still available sexual partners. To a lesser extent, the effect is also seen among females with regard to their mates.

The Coolidge effect can be attributed to an increase in sexual responsiveness, and a shortening of the sexual refractory period. The evolutionary benefit to this phenomenon is that a male can fertilize multiple females. The male may be reinvigorated repeatedly for successful insemination of multiple females. This type of mating system can be referred to as polygyny, where one male has multiple female mates, but each female only mates with one or a few male mates.

Psychology Phenomena {11} ~ Telescoping Effect

In cognitive psychology, the telescoping effect (or telescoping bias) refers to the temporal displacement of an event whereby people perceive recent events as being more remote than they are and distant events as being more recent than they are. The former is known as backward telescoping or time expansion, and the latter as is known as forward telescoping. Three years is approximately the time frame in which events switch from being displaced backward in time to forward in time, with events occurring three years in the past being equally likely to be reported with forward telescoping bias as with backward telescoping bias. Although telescoping occurs in both the forward and backward directions, in general the effect is to increase the number of events reported too recently. This net effect in the forward direction is because of forces that impair memory, such as lack of salience, also impair time perception. Telescoping leads to an over reporting of the frequency of events. This over reporting is because participants include events beyond the period, either events that are too recent for the target time period (backward telescoping) or events that are too old for the target time period (forward telescoping).

Psychology Phenomena {10} ~ The Tamagotchi Effect

The Tamagotchi effect is the development of emotional attachment with machines, robots or software agents. It has been noticed that humans tend to attach emotionally to things which otherwise do not have any emotions. For example, there are instances when people feel emotional about using their car keys, or with virtual pets. It is more prominent in applications which reflect some aspects of human behavior or characteristics, especially levels of artificial intelligence and automated knowledge processing.

Psychology Phenomena {9} ~ Pratfall Effect

In social psychology, the pratfall effect is the tendency for interpersonal appeal to change after an individual makes a mistake, depending on the individual’s perceived competence. In particular, highly competent individuals tend to become more likable after committing mistakes, while perceived average seeming individuals tend to become less likable even if they commit the same mistake.

Originally described in 1966 by Elliot Aronson, numerous studies have since been conducted to isolate the effects of gender, self-esteem, and blunder severity on change in appeal and likability. Occasionally referred to as the blemishing effect when used as a form of marketing, generalizations of the pratfall effect are often used to explain the counterintuitive benefits drawn from making mistakes.

Psychology Phenomena {8} ~ The Crespi Effect

The Crespi effect is a behavioural contrast phenomenon observed in classical conditioning in which a conditioned response changes disproportionately to a suddenly changed reinforcement. It was first observed in rats by American psychologist Leo P. Crespi in 1942.

He found that in a repeatedly carried out task such as finding food in a maze, the running speed of the rat is proportional to the size of the reward it obtained on the previous trial. The more food reward that was given to it last time upon completion of the task, the faster it will run when attempting to complete the same task. The effect also works in reverse: when rats were shifted from a larger to a smaller reward, they ran more slowly than the control rats that had always received the small reward.

It is important to note that the size of the reward has little or no influence on the speed of learning, but that it does have an influence on the performance of tasks already learned.

Scholars have been only partially able to replicate Crespi’s studies, which remains controversial.

Psychology Phenomena {7} ~ Tetris Effect

The Tetris effect (also known as Tetris syndrome) occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams. It takes its name from the video game Tetris.

People who play video puzzle games like this for a long time may see moving images like this at the edges of their visual fields, when they close their eyes, or when they are drifting off to sleep.

People who have played Tetris for a prolonged amount of time can find themselves thinking about ways different shapes in the real world can fit together, such as the boxes on a supermarket shelf or the buildings on a street. They may see colored images of pieces falling into place on an invisible layout at the edges of their visual fields or when they close their eyes. They may see such colored, moving images when they are falling asleep, a form of hypnagogic imagery.

Those experiencing the effect may feel they are unable to prevent the thoughts, images, or dreams from happening.

A more comprehensive understanding of the lingering effects of playing video games has been investigated empirically as game transfer phenomena (GTP).