The anticipation of a vacation or an exciting event can make the fun short-lived, suggests a recent study from the state of Ohio.
the study, released on April 23, found that anticipating future positive events makes them feel more distant and shorter, while negative events have the opposite effect. Study co-authors Selin Malkoc, associate professor of marketing at Ohio State, and Gabriela Tonietto, assistant professor of marketing at Rutgers University, said they tested their theory with a pilot study before Thanksgiving followed by ‘a series of four other studies.
Researchers conducted the pilot study with 510 participants online and looked at the difference in time perception between those who had a positive opinion of Thanksgiving and those who had a negative opinion. The study found that when participants viewed the holidays positively, they felt more distant and shorter.
“It really shows how comfortable and aware we as human beings are about the subjectivity of time,” Tonietto said. “I think the coolest studies are the ones that use people’s real lives.”
451 online participants from another study were asked to rate their upcoming weekends as fun, horrible, or okay and rate on a scale of 0 to 100 how far away the weekend was. A rank of 0 indicated he felt very close, while 100 felt very far away.
According to the study, the researchers found that a terrifically rated weekend felt closer to participants and a good weekend felt further away, while an OK weekend was in the middle, according to the study. study.
Tonietto said another study asked participants to watch two five-minute videos. Previously, they had been told that one would be pleasant and the other unpleasant. Participants were then polled to see how long they expected the videos to last.
The results showed that participants expected the obnoxious video to be longer than the pleasant video, supporting the theory that negative events are perceived to have a longer duration, Tonietto said.
Malkoc said it’s important to keep in mind the objective duration of an event rather than thinking it will end right away. She said that when considering positive events such as vacations, many people lose track of the length of the trip as they put the days together in their minds.
“A really good way to try to overcome this is to think about each day separately,” said Malkoc. “If you have five days, try to think of each of the five days separately. “
Tonietto said it’s hard to tackle the way people perceive time because it’s a learned human experience.
“It’s difficult because part of the problem with the effect is that it’s taken from actual experience,” Tonietto said. “We intend to see the time go by faster when we’re having fun, and we apply that prospectively and say, ‘Well I’m going to have fun, so the time is going to pass’, so it’s really short. “