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This question is inspired by Should I give the interviewers surprise? on Academia.SE.

The strategy of "save the best for last" seems to be affected in conflicting ways by two cognitive biases:

  • Confirmation bias: "the tendency to search for, interpret, or recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses." This suggests that one should try to optimize for a good first impression.
  • Peak-end rule: "a psychological heuristic in which people judge experiences largely based on how they were at their peak (i.e., their most intense point) and at their end." This suggests optimizing for a good last impression.

Is there any research that offers guidance on how these biases interact in different situations?

(For example, research on how these biases are affected by the nature of an experience, or its duration, might indicate which effect is more likely to prevail in a given situation.)

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  • $\begingroup$ I believe confirmation bias refers to much more long-term beliefs one already has. These are likely to be absent in the case of an interview, except for prejudices one might have towards, e.g., sex, ethnicity, or any other coarse generalizations. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Jun 1 '16 at 17:02

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