The Peak End Rule E-Reminders
Channel: Abdurraheem Green
File Size: 28.13MB
Episode Transcript ©
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Mic, salam, Alaikum, Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh brothers and sisters, how you can hear me?
Yeah. So today we've got a really, I mean, really, really fascinating topic is called Peak end rule. What is this about? Because this is really fascinating. And the consequences of it are really interesting as well. So let's first of all, describe and talk about it's a memory heuristic. So it's like, these are shortcuts that our brain takes, as I've always been mentioning, in previous, in previous episodes, that our brain, we likes to save energy, it's extremely energy intensive. So we have all of these shortcuts that our brain takes in order to save energy. And in order to be in order to be able to make decisions in quick time. So one of the things that and so these are biases,
these are inbuilt biases that we have. And of course, as we keep saying, generally, they're actually really good. They're very useful. They're very, very helpful. But they can, unfortunately, also be damaging, they can also mislead us. And they can also and today's really interesting to see in so many ways how this particular bias that we're going to be talking about today. Peak end bias actually can have some negative effects. First of all, what is it? So it's very simply, it is the fact that we the way we remember things, the way we remember things is we tend to remember events that are most the most emotional, we so we remember the peak, emotionally, the peak of an
experience, and it could be positive, or it could be negative, we could have a very positive experience, or you could have a very negative experience. But the point is, is that we tend to remember the highlights, we remember the peaks. And we remember the end actually around the beginning as well. So we have a bias to remember the beginning of an event. And we have an A bias, we have a bias to remember the end of event. But the end is more so because that's another heuristic that's another cognitive bias that we have, is that we tend to remember the end of things. So that's why it's called Peak and the peak and rule or the peak end buyer. So whatever, right? It's through
the peak and the end. So like, Hmm, first of all, why do we remember those things? Now, it's very interesting, because I couldn't really discover there's no really good explanation that I could read so far as to why we do that. And usually there's, you know, psychologists, psychiatrists put forward an explanation, usually something to do with our evolutionary past. As to why we do that. However, it seems to me that with all of these things, it's to do with saving energy. And so in this case, saving memory. So one of the things although it may be very dangerous to compare our brains exactly to computers, because they're not really like computers, but in some ways they are, but it may be
due to the fact that for our brain to store, our brain doesn't store every single piece of information that we experience, it doesn't do that we don't remember every single minute of every single second of every single detail of everything that happens to us. Even in fact, our brains, our eyes do not take in all the information around us. Our brains actually fill in the gaps or brains of filling in gaps, we miss a lot of information, and our brains fill in what it thinks is supposed to be there. And that's obviously because as amazing as our brains are and they truly are amazing, mashallah to work Allah Allah has really equipped us with this incredible piece of this piece of
biological equipment. But it's it's still limited, it still is finite, it still has a limited amount of processing power. So just as for example, if you anyone who does a lot of videography and anyone who does
lot of cinematography, and anyone who does a lot of photography and is dealing with massive file sizes, will understand the value and the importance of compression. Okay, and so what does compression do? Obviously, you use algorithms in order to extract what is estimated or considered to be the most useful bits of information from a file. And most of the time is more than good enough, most of the time is good enough. For most applications, it's fine. The only time obviously, it may fall down is when you need to zoom in or you need to extract particular details, then, okay, maybe, then you'll find that a compressed file is going to fall short, it's going to miss out on some
things. So the same thing, we compress our memories of events, our brain compresses them, and how does it do it in by picking highlights by picking things that are emotive and that seem to be to us generally important, because generally, the things that seem to be important are the things that register the highest level of emotion, generally, absolutely fine. But we can see that this can have some positives, and it can have some negatives. So let's talk about some examples where this peak end rule actually could be really, really positive. Okay. So for example, in the matter of childbirth, generally, the experience of childbirth is really negative for it's extremely painful.
The whole process of being a mother of carrying a child is extremely painful, especially if you add to that, for example, morning sickness, nausea, and then let alone the actual pain and experience of childbirth itself is very, very, you know, generally it's negative, okay? Yet, how is it that women not only keep having children, but actually looking at it as generally a very, very positive experience that is because of the PCAT rule, because why the actual moment of holding that child, and obviously, there is some biochemical processes taking place, you know, your body, the woman's body will release massive amounts of serotonin, and various other chemicals that will help her deal
with all of this, but Subhanallah miraculously, amazingly, it comes just at the time, in order for it to create within her a very, very positive experience. Okay, so that surge of serotonin is an that that happens when she holds the baby and is having that baby in her arms.
That Subhanallah is such an overwhelmingly positive experience. And guess what she remembers, she doesn't remember the nine months of labor and the nausea, where she she doesn't forget it entirely. But that's not what she really remembers. The thing that she remembers, is that amazing moment when she holds that child in her arms. And actually, I wrote a whole blog on this you can might still be able to find it. I'm sure it's still there. On my blog, Islam screen about one of my kids when she was born, I yet and it was very emotionally draining for me. My wife was going through so much problems, not really problems in the sense that anything dangerous but like, I've been there for the
birth of all of my kids, but for whatever reason, this she I could tell my wife was really suffering. Anyway, I'm not going to whatever at the end of it, when, you know, she took this baby in her arms, she looks at this baby and says, Oh, my baby.
She says, Oh, my baby, what would mommy do without you? And like, I have to admit that throughout this whole labor, as it got worse and worse, I was having a bit of a faith crisis. It was like I was asking Allah why. Why does she have to go through this? Why does she have to suffer like this? I was really like two months he has suffering. It was really painful for me. And then when Allahu Allah answered all my questions in this moment, it was just like from all of this suffering at the end of it came this moment of, you know, just complete love. And it's such a paradox but there it was. That's why we called her i Yet you see signs from Allah miracle from Allah subhanaw taala. It really
is something miraculous and amazing. But anyway, in relation to our discussion tonight about the peak end rule, that's a really good example of a positive aspects of the peak end rule. That positive emotion literally just
almost eliminates completely all those negative experiences, what the mom remembers is the positivity. Right. And that's a good example from a negative point of view. Well, let's take another example of relationships. Now often a person can have an amazing relationship, you could, it could last years and years and years, 22 years of having, you know, a really, really good experience with someone of having a lot of happiness. Yet, all of that can be destroyed by the lack of a very, very bad ending to that relationship. So if the if the relationship has a really, really bad ending, and then that that's, you know, that can destroy the whole memory of the experience. And so this is what
is really fascinating. It's so fascinating. And we began two years ago when we've been going through this whole series to Ramadan's ago, of exploring Who are you understanding who you are, know yourself, this is what we've been talking about. And this is why we're talking about our psychology, the way we think the way we get things wrong, the way we think get things right how the brain works, and how the brain doesn't work. Okay. So in this instance, it's very interesting. Because we have two selves, we have this the experiencing self, and we have the memory self. So we have that part of ourselves that is experiencing something, it lasts for about three seconds, you're constantly
experiencing something. And that actual experience, obviously could be negative or positive, but it doesn't last long. That's the actual experience. But it couldn't be that your experience is very positive, and very, very good. However, because of the peak end rule is that years and years of good experience, another example is given of someone who was listening to a beautiful symphony and orchestra playing it was even the professor who discusses this, he was being told
about it, someone was telling him, I had this beautiful symphony, it was so lovely. And then at the end of it just towards the end, there was this horrible screeching this horrible noise. I don't know what maybe someone messed up on their violin or whatever, it ruined the whole experience. And as the professor pointed out, no, it didn't ruin the whole experience, because you experienced as you said, it was amazing, you had a good experience for an hour and a half, or however long it was, your experience was good. What was ruined was your memory of the experience. And so your memory of the experience was dictated by that one moment of negativity, that's the peak enroll taking place. This
is the of course you can understand why that can be a real problem. As with all of these things, the reason why we're discussing them is because we want to try and be as much as possible. People who look at things in a rational way, people who think about things in a proportionate way, people who look at things in a balanced way. And sometimes these these, these cognitive biases that we have they upset that. And, you know, it's important for us to be able to get a grasp of it. And we'll we'll talk about how we can do that inshallah. Right. So,
yeah, so I was saying, as I was saying, you have so the other part of you is the self, that part of you, yourself, the experiencing self is one part. The other part is the part that remembers stuff. And that's what forms your experiences.
And so, similarly, when we talked about, you know, in a previous episode, we have that very, very interesting discussion about why we buy things about why we make decisions, financial decisions about certain things, and that we understood something very interesting is that we buy things often because we want to be able to rationalize the fact that we've made the right choice, right? It's almost as if we're buying to make ourselves feel good about that decision, which is very interesting, irrespective of whether it really was or not, again, it's almost like in advance we are trying to
create for ourselves, these good memories, these good choices that we think we want to think that we're making the right choice. That's the point. So again, it's very, very interesting. It's all about stories. It's all about the stories we tell ourselves and we've mentioned this many times. And you know, again, just to remind you, brothers and sisters, the importance of being brutally honest, the importance of being able to look at yourself, assess yourself, and really say why, you know, I'm telling my
So stories are these stories really any good for me. And that's the reality, or most of our memories are not really memories of reality. They're not really real memories of our actual experiences, most of the time, they are memories of peeks of emotional experience, not the actual generality of our experience. And this was something very important to me personally.
In an eye, this is something I sort of figured out. I never knew about this as a cognitive bias. This is I only realized that it's connected to this when I started studying this a bit more.
And that was a guess a battle I had with shape time. So I you know, so before I was Muslim, I lived what people a lot of people would call, you know, a very jet setter. I wouldn't say Playboy, I wasn't exactly a playboy, but a bit of a jet set.
Bit of a wild sort of fun, what people would call fun and exciting life. And I won't, I won't, I won't deny that there's lots of stuff that I did haram things that at the time, I definitely really enjoyed them. They weren't real positive emotional highs.
But and this is what shaytan would often come to me with an bothered me with about all the stuff that I was missing out on now that I was a Muslim, all those amazing experiences and all those things that you did, and like now you're Muslim, you're not doing all of that. And you know, like, look at your life now compared to how it was then. But I guess now what made me assess myself was my Imam was the reality of No, Allah is not telling me a lie. Allah is not telling me a lie that when he says, Verily in the remembrance of Allah, the hearts find the rest. This is the truth. So these thoughts were coming to me, but I had to rationally assess it. And so this is interesting in the
sense that, actually, I realized that my memories of my, of my negative experiences hadn't gone away. Totally, yes, I had these peaks, and many of the peaks that I had, what positive experiences? Yes, I would say that most of my emotional peak, some of them are negative, but many of them are positive. But I remembered that actually, the generality of my life, surprisingly, was pretty miserable. It was either neutral, or actually, I was generally quite unhappy a lot of the time. Generally, I realized that I was deeply and profoundly disturbed. I did not know what was the purpose of life, I felt lost, I felt like I was in darkness. Right. And actually, these peak moments
that seem to be moments of enjoyment, were simply attempts at me to escape that general bad feeling. So it is quite possible for you and this is the important thing
is that what you are able to do is to actually reframe your memories and experiences. Yeah, you can reframe your memories and experiences. This is this is one of the things that you can do.
And so this is actually, yeah, don't worry, it's fine. It's fine. It just resets itself. So
yeah, this is one of the things that you can do. And actually, this is one of the positive things that you can do with these things is that there are ways that you can reframe freedom that once you know about this peak end rule, then, and you realize that it is a distortion of reality, that in fact, you did have 20 years of relationship with this person. And it was amazing. You can remember that. And you can remember that. And you can tell yourself that no, don't allow those last few years or those last few days, or the fact that this person did this, this and that, to actually corrupt the reality of the experience of many, many years of your life, which was positive, you are able to
do that. And you're able to reframe your memories in a positive way. And so this is one of the beautiful things about Alhamdulillah about our minds is that yes, although we have these biases, although we have these things that are generally they're actually like I said, they're all there for mostly really good reasons. But also, we have this neuroplasticity that we have this ability to make you know to Subhanallah
to reform the way we think about things to it, they call it reframing. Yeah. So once you realize, and you understand the reality of this particular rule of this peak and rule of how we remember things based upon their emotions, because emotional things that are emotive,
they stand out in our mind, and they, they, they stick in our memories much more strongly. And the ending the way that things end, because it's the most recent things, and that's to do with another. Another way, another cognitive bias that we have is we tend to remember things that happened. Most recently, they tend to be the most vivid, in our mind. But once we realize this, a handler, we can do something about it, I suppose to think. So one of the things to remember again, why this could be dangerous, okay. Well, I mean, it's obviously dangerous, because it can possibly make your life a bit miserable. But also, it can be dangerous. From the point of view, let me give you a simple
example. And I'm sure you can extrapolate these examples, I suppose it would have been very dangerous if I listened to shaytaan in his whisperings
being killed, convinced that yeah, you know what, my life was so fun. And I missed all of those things. And would be let's go back and do it again. Right, that would have been really, really dangerous and disastrous. But let's take another example of a dentist. Now, this is really true, this is really close to home for me, because my experience with dentists has been really really not good. Okay. And I am definitely one who suffers from this particular example.
This peak and particular, this particular cognitive bias. So basically, look, if you go to a dentist, and you have lots of negative experience with a dentist, and this overriding the negative, or that's what it may not even be that. But the point being is that, when you leave the dentist, your memory of it is negative. Remember that when you leave the dentist, your memory of it is negative, that, of course may make you extremely reluctant to visit dentists. And that obviously could have an extremely negative effect on your dental health and your dental hygiene. That's a simple example of how
this particular peak and heuristic, or this peak and rule sorry, could can have a negative impact on you. Okay, it's very interesting that some of the studies done in this field of the peak end rule
are around medical procedures. And something I mean was really shocking and fascinating both at the same time, is that they actually did a study of people who were undergoing a particular type of operation.
And it was very interesting that there were some people who experienced a peak of extreme pain,
somewhere in the middle of the procedure, and also a peak of pain at the end of the procedure. And it was measured this level, this sort of degree of pain was measured. And there were others who went through a procedure that was longer, and was also more painful, it was longer, and it was also more painful.
And like, you can see it on the chart, you can clearly see on the chart, that the overall pain of that particular group of people was way, way more than the first group of people who went through one peak of pain in the middle of one peak of pain at the end, the other group, that overall experience of pain was much greater, but because the level of pain taper down towards the end, right, so instead of going from extreme pain to no pain, it sort of tapered down towards the end, the overall experience, the actual experience of pain was longer and greater, but because it slowly went down and tapered down to less pain. In other words, the ending was not a memory of extreme
pain, it was a memory of lessening of the pain. And so therefore, the experience was more positive. Even though the actual real experience that they had of pain overall was much more how extraordinary is that?
It's extraordinary, but you can also understand that
that's a bit crazy, that could potentially be a bit dangerous and even disruptive. Okay, brothers and sisters, of course, one of the things that once you know this rule of course, one of the great things is you start taking it into account
So when it comes to education, when it comes to parenting, you see, you take these things into account because you're parenting these little children. And guess what they also, because it's a human cognitive bias, we all have it, children have that bias. So even when you're disciplining children, and rewarding children, you need to take this into account, right? So if you want to tell if your children, right, okay, so you give them the Smackdown, you give them the telling, not literal smack Yeah, I'm just give them the telling off. Yeah. Because I don't believe in smacking children. But if you tell them off, and you whatever, then what you need to do is finish it with
something positive, or at least you want to taper down that level of criticism. And you know, you want it so you don't want a big, big, big,
very, very high peak of negative experience, what you want to do is tapered down that negative negative negative experience, and bring it to a normal level, or even better. And this is the same what they encourage in school reporting with children at school. And, and this is actually a very well known way of, you know, when you want to tell someone says something about themselves, right, you know, you start with a negative, you start with a negative thing, and then afterwards, you can mention some positive things, right. And the same with, you know, reporting,
you know, children's progress at school, is that if you finish with the positives, then guess what their overall experience is going to be more of a positive one that's based on the peak end rule. Okay. So these are some of the things in Sharla that you can use, obviously, again, marketing and selling, and they have been hard at work, of course, manipulating us emotionally and psychologically, with the peak end rule. So for example, things that they can use in order in order to do that, is to make sure that our final experience with our product is as positive as possible. So for example, you know, if you go to the store, you go to a particular store, you go to a
particular place, they may give you a gift at the end of like a surprise gift, or whatever it is to make that experience as positive as possible. And even though maybe the whole customer service experience was terrible, as long as it finishes on a peak amount of positivity, then guess what your, your memory of it is going to be overwhelmingly positive. Anyway, brothers and sisters, I think that's it for today. I mean, there's actually so much connected with there's so many interesting things, but I'm sure that you can also just study and just type in in Google peak end rule, and you will come up with some interesting videos and articles and you can look into it more
and read about it more.
But I think for me, that's it I'm, I'm happy to have been able to Allah has an enabled me Alhamdulillah, to be able to just share this little bit of knowledge with you, that I think is so fascinating about us, and that hopefully, inshallah will help you in some ways in this life, and in your journey to the Ashira insha Allah. And finally, we finish with sending Salawat upon the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salam because for some reason, I haven't mentioned the prophets for will give an example from the life of the prophet Sallallahu and who knows, I probably think of something afterwards. Yeah, brothers until next time in sha Allah use this week until next week in sha Allah
to think about and this whole concept of peak and rule and maybe you can see where where and how that has and is operating and taking place in your life and maybe even see how you can adjust your experience your memories of how you experienced things where you need to in a positive way because sometimes maybe want to remember things in a negative way because inshallah it will keep you away from bad stuff. So maybe you could do that as well. You see, you can actually think of things that were bad that had a positive so that's the other thing there's something bad that had a positive ending. And yeah, you remember it in a positive way. This is how gambling can get you Oh, yes, you
can have a really bad night's gambling but you've fit you've you know, you win at the end and guess what you remember you know, the money lost you just remember that's how people can get addicted. So yeah, so but now you know as well brothers and sisters that you can reframe these memories. Yeah, that the memories you have a not necessarily the actual real
reality of what you actually experienced. Think about it. I'd be very interested to hear from you about your own discoveries about the peak end rule in your life. Anyway, until next week. That's it for me As Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah. Why