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.

This can be explained by Kurt Lewin's field theory,[2] which points that an interrupted action is 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. Psychologische Forschung. pp. 302–379 – via http://interruptions.net/literature/Ovsiankina-PF28.pdf.
  2. ^ Lewin, Kurt (1936). Principles of topological psychology – via https://archive.org/details/LEWINKurt.PrinciplesOfTopologicalPsychology_201605.
  3. ^ "Die Experimente der Lewin-Gruppe zu Struktur und Dynamik von Persönlichkeit und psychologischer Umwelt". Phänomenal. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2016-08-07 – via academia.edu.