They say the best is yet to be and now psychologists say the best is the last!
Psychologists at the University of Michigan claim to have proved that whether it is a chocolate or sweet or even a kiss, it is the last one which is the best.
In a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, lead psychologist Ed O'Brien has explained that while endings affect us in many ways, the positivity effect theory could have the best impact.
O'Brien noted that the last-is-best theory, when applied in daily life, did have some significance. It doesn't even have to be a real last one to be experienced as best. When you simply tell people something is the last, they may like that thing more, said O'Brien.
The study explained that even long painful experiences that end pleasantly are often rated better than those that are short and end painfully.
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The findings were based on a chocolate test which, according to the study authors, might have severe implications. The theory could also be applied to examiners who mark the last exam.
The examiners could in all probability give the last exam, the best grade even if it does not measure up better than the preceding ones.
The study stated, Employers may be inclined to hire the last-interviewed job applicant. Awareness of this bias could make such subjective judgments fairer.
One of the theories could be based on motivational facts, especially when individuals know that an experience is about to be completed. If we believe that, I might as well reap the benefits of this experience even though it's going to end, or I want to get something good out of this while I still can, making the last experience more gratifying, explains O'Brien.
The other theory, according to O'Brien, is: Many experiences have happy endings, from the movies and shows we watch to dessert at the end of a meal, and so people may have a general expectation that things end well, which could bleed over into these insignificant or unrelated judgments.
The study involved 52 participants who were randomly given five different flavored chocolates, one flavor at a time. After tasting each, they rated how enjoyable it was from 0 to 10. Some of the participants were told each time: Here is the next one.
The others got the same lead-in until the fifth chocolate, before which the researchers could say, This is the last one. After tasting all the chocolates, the participants indicated which they liked best and how enjoyable the tasting was overall. In most cases, the fifth chocolate or the last chocolate was rated as more enjoyable when it was the last chocolate versus just another in the taste test.
An aspect O'Brien said was that endings need not always bring up only positive emotions. Endings could also be related to sadness and even lead to a bittersweet feeling. His analogy was that if the last chocolate happened to be bitter-sweet chocolate, chances were that it would taste the sweetest!