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Zeigarnik Effect

  1. Florence L. Denmark

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0924

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Denmark, F. L. 2010. Zeigarnik Effect. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. Pace University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Work by Bluma Zeigarnik (1927), a Russian psychologist, established the fact that subjects ranging widely in age tended to remember interrupted tasks better (and with greater frequency) than they remembered tasks they had completed. She first noticed that waiters seemed to remember orders only so long as the order was in the process of being served, not once it was finished and therefore a complete task. What amounted to commonsense observations became the impetus for a series of germinal experiments by Zeigarnik.