Perceptions of the Length of Future Time Intervals: a Simulation Perspective

Robyn LeBoeuf, University of Florida, USA
Joseph Simmons, Yale University, USA
We investigate consumers’ perceptions of future time intervals. We find that future intervals seem shorter when consumers fill the intervals with events than when consumers contemplate empty intervals equal in objective length. Further studies support this finding, revealing that intervals filled with frequently occurring events seem shorter than those filled with rare events, and that intervals containing many events seem shorter than those containing few events. We develop an interval-simulation hypothesis, suggesting that consumers gauge the length of an approaching interval by simulating its passage, with busy intervals seeming to “fly by” and empty intervals seeming like a long wait.
[ to cite ]:
Robyn LeBoeuf and Joseph Simmons (2007) ,"Perceptions of the Length of Future Time Intervals: a Simulation Perspective", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 547-749.