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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]).

Further investigations by Lewin's pupils Kate Lissner and Wera Mahler showed that this trend does not come into play when the action is an easement of the system[further explanation needed].[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ovsiankina, Maria (1928). Die Wiederaufnahme unterbrochener Handlungen. Psychologische Forschung. pp. 302–379 – via
  2. ^ Lewin, Kurt (1936). Principles of topological psychology – via
  3. ^ "Die Experimente der Lewin-Gruppe zu Struktur und Dynamik von Persönlichkeit und psychologischer Umwelt". Phänomenal. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2016-08-07 – via
  4. ^ Teilband Motivation, Volition und Handlung, Göttingen: Hogrefe. Peter M. Gollwitzer und Christine Liu. 1995. pp. 209–240 (Wiederaufnahme) – via Enzyklopädie der Psychologie.