University of Twente Student Theses


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

Merkelbach, T. (2021) What causes the “sharp end” effect in the recall of disaster reports?

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Abstract:Past research found that when individuals read disaster reports, they tend to recall sharp ends, the most immediate factors in time and space, rather than the blunt ends, which consist of the more distant, organisational causes. This sharp end effect in the recall has been previously explored, but so far no conclusive explanation for what causes it has been found. To add to the discussion on why this effect may occur, this research replicated the majority of the methodology employed by Berkemeier (2021) with some modifications and manipulated the presence of explicit sharp end blaming in disaster stories. Forty-six participants were asked to read two distinct disaster stories, freely recall what they read and indicate to what degree they considered the different factors that were involved as responsible for causing the disaster. The results indicated that the presence of sharp end blaming did not affect recall or blaming tendencies. However, a sharp end effect in recall was found, as well as a blunt end effect in assigning blame. These findings support the theory that the process of recall and the one of blaming occur as separate and distinct and can as a result exhibit very different effects.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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