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Primacy Effect, Memory

Definition

The primacy effect denotes the phenomenon that after encountering a long list of items, one will more likely be able to recall the first few items from that list than items than from later parts of the list. In a typical study investigating the primacy effect, participants are sequentially presented with a list of words, each being presented for a fixed amount of time. After the words have been presented, participants are asked to write down all the words from the list that they recall. A primacy effect is found when participants correctly recall words from the first few positions in a list more often than they recall words from later list positions.

History and Importance

The primacy effect and its counterpart, the recency effect, which ...

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