What Is Recency Effect in Social Psychology?


Vincent White

Recency effect is a phenomenon in social psychology that refers to the tendency of people to remember and give more weightage to the most recent information they have received, rather than the earlier ones. This effect plays a significant role in shaping our perception, judgment, and decision-making process. In this article, we will discuss what recency effect is all about and how it affects our everyday lives.

Understanding Recency Effect

Recency effect is a cognitive bias that occurs due to the limitations of human memory. Our brain has a limited capacity to retain information, and as new information enters our mind, it tends to push out the older ones. This means that we tend to remember the most recent information more vividly than the earlier ones.

Examples of Recency Effect

Recency effect can be observed in various aspects of our lives. For instance, in an interview process, an interviewer may be more likely to remember the last candidate they interviewed compared to the first one. Similarly, when we are shopping for groceries, we may remember items that we saw on our last visit more clearly than those we saw a few weeks ago.

Factors Influencing Recency Effect

Several factors can influence recency effect. One of them is the amount of time between receiving different pieces of information. The shorter the time interval between two pieces of information, the higher is the likelihood of recency effect occurring.

Another factor that can influence recency effect is the salience or importance of information. If a particular piece of information stands out from others due to its significance or relevance, it is more likely to be remembered better than others.

Implications of Recency Effect

The implications of recency effect are significant in various fields such as marketing, advertising, and politics. Advertisers often use recency effect by placing their ads at the end of a TV show or on the last page of a magazine to increase its impact. Similarly, political candidates may use recency effect by making their most persuasive arguments at the end of their speeches or debates.


In conclusion, recency effect is a cognitive bias that can significantly influence our perception, judgment, and decision-making process. By understanding how it works, we can become more aware of its effects and make better-informed decisions.