How Our Minds Warp Our Perception of Time on Vacation

We’ve all heard the colloquialism “time flies when you are having fun,” but a new study has found that anticipation of a fun event also makes it feel like it is over too soon.

The researchers found that people view future positive events as both further away and shorter in duration when compared to negative or neutral events.

The study authors stated that these two elements have an unusual effect when people think about a positive event like a vacation. The interminable waiting compiled with the feeling that the event will be done too quickly makes them view the beginning and the end of the event as similarly far from the present.

Simply stated, in our minds the vacation has no duration, it is over instantaneously. Another affect this all has on the mind is it makes the mind believe the endpoints of positive and negative events are both distant from the present. Anticipating a negative event, like a work trip we don’t want to go on, reserves the effect, people feel like the negative event will happen immediately and last forever.

The Journal of Consumer Psychology will publish the paper online.


How to Make Sure Your Friend Hates a Gift — A New Study

In an unusual new study, OSU faculty and others took a look at gift giving. Specifically, how to make sure a friend hates a gift you give them. The answer they found? Tell them the gift will save them money.

Through a series of studies, researchers saw that people reacted negatively to gifts when it was said or inferred the gifts were intended to help them save money.

Getting this kind of present makes one feel inferior to the gift-giver, according to this new research. People are more receptive to gifts that are intended to save them time.

Researchers noted that while society believes all gifts will be appreciated (it’s the thought that counts), this couldn’t be further from the truth—presentation and intent are everything.
Gifts that intend to save people time are seen as a compliment, researchers said. If you don’t have spare time you see yourself as being perceived as busy, in-demand, important. The latter is seen as “high status” while the former is usually seen as “low status.”

Researchers noted, however, to trust your instincts when choosing gifts. This data is only one part of the picture.

The study was published recently in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.