How to bring the news…speak-end effects in children’s affective responses to peer assessments of their social behavior
The retrospective evaluation of an event tends to be based on how the experience felt during the most intense moment and the last moment. Two experiments tested whether this so-called peak-end effect influences how primary school students are affected by peer assessments. In both experiments, children (ages 7–12) assessed two classmates on their behaviour in school and then received two manipulated assessments. In Experiment 1 (N = 30), one assessment consisted of four negative ratings and the other of four negative ratings with an extra moderately negative rating added to the end. In Experiment 2 (N = 44), one assessment consisted of four positive ratings, and the other added an extra moderately positive rating to the end. Consistent with the peak-end effect, the extended assessment in Experiment 1 and the short assessment in Experiment 2 were remembered as more pleasant and less difficult to deal with, which shaped children’s peer assessment preferences and prospective choices of which assessment to repeat. These findings indicate that the process of peer assessment can be improved by ending the feedback with the most positive part of the assessment.