Peak-end Rule

Definition 1

Refers to findings that the pleasantness or unpleasantness of past experiences are more related to peaks, valleys and the ends of experiences.

Source: Behavioral Science Lab, 2017

Definition 2

According to the peak-end rule, our memory of past experience (pleasant or unpleasant) does not correspond to an average level of positive or negative feelings but to the most extreme point and the end of the episode (Kahneman, 2000b). The rule developed from the finding that evaluations of a past episode seem to be determined by a weighted average of ‘snapshots’ of an experience, such as moments in a film, thus neglecting its actual duration (Fredrickson & Kahneman, 1993), as well research showing that people would prefer to repeat a painful experience if it is followed by a slightly less painful one (Kahneman et al., 1993). In terms of memories, remembered utility is more important than total utility (Kahneman, 2000a). People’s memories of prototypical moments are related to the judgments made when people apply a representativeness heuristic (Kahneman, 2000b).

Source: Behavioral Economics