Last Semester’s Enduring Impressions

Tina S.-T. Huang, Tony Nguyen, Peter Graf


The increased recollection of events occurring at the beginning and end of a period, known as the end point effect, is a phenomenon widely reported in the autobiographical memory literature. We used an interview method to explore the end point effect and to find out what impressions students retain for an academic semester. Participants recounted recollections of events from an academic course that was completed in their immediately preceding semester, and then they rated each recollection on a variety of attributes such as emotionality and vividness. The results showed recollection peaks corresponding to the semester midpoint as well as corresponding to the endpoints of the semester; the results also showed that distinct content defined recollections contributed to the mid- and endpoints. The discussion focuses on the qualitative versus quantitative examination of autobiographical memory.


Autobiographical memory; End point effect; Serial position effect; Content analysis

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