Pop culture scientists are now telling us that commercials actually make television more enjoyable. "The findings are simultaneously implausible and empirically coherent." That's what I'm saying! But we have detected some wackiness in this study:
In one experiment, Dr. Nelson, along with Tom Meyvis and Jeff Galak of New York University, had 87 undergraduates watch an episode of the sitcom "Taxi." Half watched it as it was originally broadcast, with commercials for the Jewelry Factory Store and the law office of Michael Brownstein, among other ads. The other half watched the show straight through, without commercials.
Um, who wouldn't like a show better when it had the goofy, old school, big lapel commercials in it? That is what hipsterdom is all about! And you're asking undergrads here! Duh on this one.
The scientists say that the findings hold across the board, though: humans enjoy things more when they're forced to pause during them, which they hypothesize has to do with our natural ability to set any experience as a default, rather than as something to be enjoyed more than usual.
The effect wasn't limited to watching TV; interrupting a massage also heightened people's enjoyment, one experiment found.