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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01705

From experience to memory: on the robustness of the peak-and-end-rule for complex, heterogeneous experiences

 Wim Strijbosch1*, Ondrej Mitas2, Marnix van Gisbergen3, Miruna Doicaru3, John Gelissen1, 4 and  Marcel Bastiaansen1, 4
  • 1Academy for Leisure, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
  • 2Academy for Tourism, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
  • 3Academy for Digital Entertainment, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
  • 4Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, Netherlands

Memory forms the input for future behavior. Therefore, how individuals remember a certain experience may be just as important as the experience itself. The peak-and-end-rule (PE-rule) postulates that remembered experiences are best predicted by the peak emotional valence and the emotional valence at the end of an experience in the here and now. The PE-rule, however, has mostly been assessed in experimental paradigms that induce relatively simple, one-dimensional experiences (e.g. experienced pain in a clinical setting). This hampers generalizations of the PE-rule to the experiences in everyday life. This paper evaluates the generalizability of the PE-rule to more complex and heterogeneous experiences by examining the PE-rule in a virtual reality (VR) experience, as VR combines improved ecological validity with rigorous experimental control. Findings indicate that for more complex and heterogeneous experiences, peak and end emotional valence are inferior to other measures (such as averaged valence and arousal ratings over the entire experiential episode) in predicting remembered experience. These findings suggest that the PE-rule cannot be generalized to ecologically more valid experiential episodes.

Keywords: peak-and-end rule, Remembering self, Experiencing self, Memory, experience

Received: 26 Apr 2019; Accepted: 08 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Gezinus Wolters, Leiden University, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Fei Luo, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Simon Kemp, University of Canterbury, New Zealand  

Copyright: © 2019 Strijbosch, Mitas, van Gisbergen, Doicaru, Gelissen and Bastiaansen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Wim Strijbosch, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Academy for Leisure, Breda, Netherlands, strijbosch.w@buas.nl