Ovsiankina effect

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The Ovsiankina effect is the tendency to pick up an interrupted action again when it has still not been achieved.[1] It is named after its researcher, Maria Ovsiankina.

The effect states that an interrupted task, even without incentive, values as a "quasi-need". It creates intrusive thoughts, aimed at taking up the task again and possibly resulting into cognitive dissonance.

This can be explained by Kurt Lewin's field theory,[2] which points that an interrupted action is a condition for a strained system. It also leads to a better remembering of the unfinished action over a vacant one (Zeigarnik effect[3]).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ovsiankina, Maria (1928). Die Wiederaufnahme unterbrochener Handlungen (PDF) (in German). Psychologische Forschung. pp. 302–379. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2022.
  2. ^ Lewin, Kurt (1936). Principles of topological psychology. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016.
  3. ^ Lindorfer, Bernadette; Stemberger, Gerhard (1 February 2012). "Die Experimente der Lewin-Gruppe zu Struktur und Dynamik von Persönlichkeit und psychologischer Umwelt". Phänomenal. doi:10.23668/psycharchives.4389. Archived from the original on December 2012. Retrieved 2016-08-07 – via academia.edu.