Knowing the dinner duration with disliked in-laws makes it worse!

Updated: May 10, 2011, 12:07 PM IST

Washington: People assume that knowing the duration of a pleasant event will ‘kill the fun’, whereas knowing the duration of an unpleasant event makes it tolerable.

However, a new study has contradicted this notion.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that knowing how long a good experience will last makes it better, but being aware of the duration of an unpleasant event makes it worse.

"Which is more enjoyable, knowing the exact duration of a dinner with a charming friend or not knowing it? What if the dinner is with disliked in-laws?" ask Min Zhao and Claire I. Tsai.

They explain that "rather than weakening affective episodes over time, duration knowledge actually intensifies them, rendering a positive experience more pleasurable and a negative experience more aversive."

Researchers conducted an experiment on a group of students, half of whom were told the duration of a lecture and the other half was kept uninformed.

It emerged that whereas students predicted that duration knowledge would improve their negative experience, in fact it rendered the experience worse."