Counting Down Makes Time Pass More Quickly

When research participants were asked to give a hand-exercise ball 25 squeezes, the time required for the task felt 20% shorter to those who counted down from 25 to 1 than to those who counted from 1 to 25, say Edith Shalev of Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Vicki G. Morwitz of New York University. In a related experiment, people who squeezed a hand grip while counting down, rather than up, had a more favorable attitude about the product and expressed a greater willingness to buy it. Counting down may seem more exciting than counting upward, and the distraction may decrease time judgments, the researchers say.

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