Serial Position Effect

Synonyms: primacy effect, recency effect, serial position curve, SPE

Serial-position effect is the propensity of a user to remember the first and last items in a series better than the middle items.


By understanding how to manipulate the order of information and minimize the serial position effect, you can reduce strain on your user’s memory load and limit the distraction that exists between presentation and recall of information
— Euphemia Wong, UX Researcher


'serial killer'


Designers should be aware of serial position effects when conducting surveys, especially when people choose from a long list, as they often represent a margin of error.


The correct way to conduct a poll is to shuffle the list positions for each vote to minimize possible errors.


  1. Blind zones (items)
  2. Survey errors
  3. Need to be fine tuned
  4. User frustration

Take a Look

Serial Position Effect Short Webinar


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