Commercials make TV more enjoyable: study

Interrupting an experience makes it more intense

People often space out their coffee breaks, gossip with friends, or other enjoyable activities, and there could be good reason: it seems interruption can actually make an experience more enjoyable, new research suggests, although the reverse is also true. In one study, a team from New York University had 87 students watch an episode of the sitcom “Taxi,” half with commercials, the other half with none. After the show was over, subjects rated how much they liked it compared it to the sitcom “Happy Days.” Those who saw “Taxi” without commercials, researchers reported, liked “Happy Days” better, while the others preferred “Taxi.” The opposite proves true for annoying experiences: people who listened to a vacuum cleaner thought it was only worse after a break from the noise. “The reason this happens, we argue, is that we tend to adapt to a variety of experiences, as they’re happening,” co-author Dr. Leif Nelson of the University of California, San Diego told the New York Times. “Listening to a song, watching a TV program, having a massage: these all start out very enjoyable, and within a few minutes we get used to it. Interruptions break that up.”

The New York Times