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Making Things Stick in Memory: Position Matters

February 1st, 2013 by Kennedy

If you want to make something stand out and not get lost or forgotten then don’t put it in the middle. Or if you have something to present, make sure the most important elements are not scheduled in the middle. Why? Well, my friend, read on!

There is a psychological concept known as the serial position effect. This was first documented by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and it describes how the position of an item affects recall. The two main ideas in the serial position effect are the recency effect and the primacy effect.

Primacy Effect and Recency Effect

The primacy effect refers to the recall of the first information presented about something better than information presented later.

For example, you’re enjoying a show or listening to a sales presentation. The information given first is more likely to stay with you more than the information given later. However, there is something that outdoes the primacy effect: the recency effect.

Take the same example regarding a show or sales presentation. People will remember the last piece of information given above all else.

So, let’s say during the show or presentation you are hooked based on the way it started out. However, later on it becomes boring and you lose interest. Right now the recency effect is winning, so your thoughts aren’t very positive. But a little more time goes by and you hear or see more exciting things. This matches up well with the things done or said at the beginning of the show or presentation. The primacy effect (the 1st thing) and the recency effect (the last thing) are both telling you it’s all good, so ultimately you’re going to walk away with a positive experience.

Why this works so well

remember this presentationThe reason this works is that it’s at those times, the 1st (primacy) and last (recency), that emotions are at their highest and most concentrated. This is why we remember the beginning and the end of something – an event, relationship, list of names, business presentation – more than all the information in the middle.

So keeping this in mind, remember to start your show or presentation with a bang and end with a bigger one!


Amy Evans
Amy Evans
14:54 15 Mar 17
Kennedy was very professional, really entertaining and completely different to what we have booked in the past in terms of an after dinner speaker and entertainment. The performance amazed the whole audience and really lifted the spirits in the entire room in time for our formal proceedings.I would definitely recommend Kennedy to anyone looking for corporate entertainment.
james Sheeran
james Sheeran
08:35 16 Mar 17
What a fantastic night’s entertainment Mind of Kennedy provided. Some of the stuff he did is still being talked about at our company days after! Make sure you book him for your corporate event; you won’t be disappointed!
Kerry Celeste
Kerry Celeste
11:10 09 Feb 17
Absolutely spectacular show! Never seen anything like it. We were all mesmerised from beginning to end. I can highly recommend Kennedy’s show to anyone looking for entertainment for a party, wedding or corporate event. He really was outstanding and kept us all laughing & on the edge of our seats all night!
IAmy Amy
IAmy Amy
11:41 24 Aug 16
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