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Feeling better about practice: the peak-end rule

Kahneman and Tversky, in their many studies of cognitive biases, discovered the “peak-end rule”: our emotional memories off experiences are disproportionately affected by the end of the experience. For example, they had subjects submerge their hands in painfully cold water for 30 seconds, then another time but with an additional 15 seconds added, but at a slightly more comfortable temperature at the end. They preferred the longer session of torture, and remembered it as less painful.

Noe Kagayama, in his blog Bulletproof Musician, suggests that this finding can be used to design practice sessions (or lessons, if you are a teacher) that are remembered as more pleasant.


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