There's a common fable you'll see adapted everywhere from economics to politics. It's the story of the frog in the pot. The premise is that if you throw a frog into boiling water, it will jump out - but in lukewarm water slowly brought to boil, the frog will be oblivious to danger and be cooked to death.
While it's a great metaphor for the human capacity to underestimate gradual change until we wake up in boiling water, it is simply untrue. The truth is that if you boil a frog quickly it will die, and if you turn the heat up slowly it will escape as soon as it becomes uncomfortable.
However, there is another cognitive phenomenon worth paying attention to: the peak-end effect.
Popularised by the research of Daniel Kahneman and Barbara Fredrickson, the peak-end effect is a form of cognitive bias impacting how we recall certain events. Due to memory bias and recency bias, we are most likely to recall the most intense moment of stimuli during an event, and the final moment. These two points form a snapshot that characterizes our recollection of the experience.
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