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What causes the "sharp end effect" in the recall of disaster reports?

Berkemeier, L. (2021) What causes the "sharp end effect" in the recall of disaster reports?

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Abstract:When people are asked to recall how disasters happened, they tend to remember most vividly and frequently the causes that were spatially and temporally close to the disaster, called sharp end factors. Why this so-called sharp end effect occurs remained unclear. The current study investigated whether the blaming tendency of a person, the number of sharp ends mentioned, or a person’s locus of control can be used to explain the sharp end effect. Eighty-three participants took part in a study wherein they had to recall three disaster stories, both directly and after one and three weeks, without reading the stories again. After the final recall, participants rated which factors contributed to the incident the most and filled in a locus of control questionnaire. The sharp end effect regarding recall was still present and a blunt end effect in terms of blaming tendency was found regardless of blunt end blaming or sharp end manipulations. Lastly, participants’ locus of control was found to have no significant influence on recall or blaming tendency. The results do not give a clear explanation of the sharp end effect, but it was shown that recall and blaming of sharp ends and blunt ends are separate processes.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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