What Presidents will we forget – or our grandkids never hear of at all? In AAAS’ Science, Washington University of St. Louis scholars Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto offer one analysis. But I’m guessing they’re wrong.
Their idea is based on the idea that people are good at remembering the beginning of lists, and the end, but only remarkable items along the middle of the list. Using data collected from surveys of undergrads in 1974, 1991, 2009, and an adult survey in 2014, they found that Washington, Lincoln, and recent presidents are recalled, but those more than a couple of generations past are forgotten.
But there are a number of advantages that recent and all future presidents will have over McKinley and Fillmore: video, a strong executive branch, and global authority.