Telescoping effect

Events in the past or future seems more distant(backward telescoping/time expansion) or nearer(forward telescoping) than they actually are. Events more than 3 years ago will have forward telescoping - and events closer than 3 years ago will have backward telescoping.


One hypothesis states that dates are estimated, not recalled, and these estimates are based on what is remembered about the event. People use how much detail they recall about an event to infer how long ago the event occurred. Therefore, memorable events should be recalled as occurring recently.


  • Telescoping leads to an over reporting of the frequency of events. This over reporting is because participants include events beyond the period.
  • Marketing firms often use survey data to estimate when consumers will next buy a product. Telescoping errors may bias these estimates and cause faulty marketing campaigns.