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Peak-End Rule

The Big Idea for Wednesday, June 12, 2013

While money may not buy happiness, per se, social psychologists have still found ways that we can maximize the happiness we get out of money in our daily lives. 

In today's lesson Dave Nussbaum looks at the social psychology of paying for a meal in a restaurant, and how that is an illustration of Daniel Kahneman's peak-end rule – "when people think back on an experience, their memory is largely determined by its peak (the high or low point of the experience) and its end."

In the interest of not letting the check ruin an otherwise memorable meal, perhaps we should pay as we go, even though that would be untenable. Better still would be to pay in advance. "So ending a meal with the check rather than, say, a delicious desert, can undermine people’s whole memory of the experience."


  1. 1 Pay Now, Consume Later
    Dave Nussbaum Random Assignment
  2. 2 Why We Make Bad Decisions About Money (And What We Can Do About It)
    Daniel Kahneman
  3. 3 The Psychology of Nothing: Phantom Symptoms
    Dave Nussbaum Random Assignment
  4. 4 How Rational Are You? Try This Quiz
    Steven Mazie Praxis

Peak-End Rule

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