User Memory Design: How To Design For Experiences That Last

The lead researcher, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, saw confirmation of a psychological heuristic called the peak-end rule: people’s memories of an experience are based on a rough average of the most intense moment (the peak) and the final moment (the end). Likewise, the length of an experience has no impact on people’s memory of it, a concept called duration neglect.

Twenty years of additional research in this area has shown that the peak-end rule holds true not just in painful experiences, but across a range of states, including pleasure. And, of course, experiences can be a mix of both good and bad moments, as shown below in the chart below, with positive and negative values on the y-axis. This type of chart is called an experience profile.

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