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Overview

next-in-line effect


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Impaired recall for an event immediately preceding an anticipated public performance. The effect was first reported in 1973 by the US graduate student Malcolm Brenner (born 1946), who performed an experiment in which a group of participants sat around a circular table taking turns reading words aloud, trying to remember as many words as possible. After going round the table several times, so that each participant had read out several words and there were many more read out by others to remember, the participants' recall was tested. Recall tended to be best for the words that the participants had read out themselves (the von Restorff effect) and worst for the words immediately preceding the words that they had read out (the next-in-line effect). The effect is believed to be due to both attention distraction and retrograde amnesia. See also audience effect.


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