Providing feedback that praises, and then offers suggestions for improvement.
…we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended. Other information is not lost, but it is not used. This includes net pleasantness or unpleasantness and how long the experience lasted.
A description of one experiment demonstrating this rule is contained in Determinants of the Remembered Utility of Aversive Sounds (Schreiber/Kahneman)
…participants had two experiences of immersing one hand in painfully cold water.
The short trial lasted 60 s, with water temperature at 14 °C.
The long trial lasted 90 s; the temperature was 14 °C for
the first 60 s, then rose gradually to 15 °C over the next
30 s–still unpleasant, but a distinct improvement for most
When they were later given a choice of which
trial to repeat, a significant majority of participants chose to
repeat the long trial. This preference violates logic, because
adding pain to an aversive episode cannot make it better
A Possible Improvement on the Constructive Feedback Technique
Toastmasters uses a sandwich technique [good-bad-good], but the challenge is that the Serial position effect might cause the criticism necessary for improvement to be lost. However, this modified sandwich technique might provide the benefits of offering constructive criticism while still producing a more positive result at the end:
- Sandwich Layer: Bread
Evaluation Element: Praise – strengths exhibited by the speaker
- Sandwich Layer: Condiments
Evaluation Element: Areas for improvement – where can the speaker improve
- Sandwich Layer: Meat, cheese, vegetables
Evaluation Element: Specific suggestions – how can the speaker improve