People remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.


  1. Providing artificial progress towards a goal will help to ensure users are more likely to have the motivation to complete that task.
  2. The closer users are to completing a task, the faster they work towards reaching it.
  3. Motivation can be enhanced by visually representing progress and completion, e.g. progress bars.


Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik (1900 – 1988) was a Soviet psychologist and psychiatrist, a member of the Berlin School of experimental psychology and Vygotsky Circle. She discovered the Zeigarnik effect and contributed to the establishment of experimental psychopathology as a separate discipline in the Soviet Union in the post-World War II period. In the 1920s she conducted a study on memory, in which she compared memory in relation to incomplete and complete tasks. She had found that incomplete tasks are easier to remember than successful ones. This is now known as the Zeigarnik effect. She later began working at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity which is where she would meet her next big influence Vygowski, and become a part of his circle of scientists. It was also there that Zeigarnik founded the Department of Psychology. During that time, Zeigarnik received the Lewin Memorial Award in 1983 for her psychological research.


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