(ORDO NEWS) — A large experiment by American scientists showed that when a person realizes that he has little time left for any action, for example, to dine in a restaurant during a trip, or for the rest of his life, in principle, he will prefer well-known places to new ones.
The average person prefers new experiences to familiar ones (for example, a movie they haven’t seen over a movie they’ve already seen if they have equal access to both), previous research has shown.
But when people realize that some process will end soon, then, as scientists from the University of Chicago (USA) found out, they, on the contrary, tend to choose familiar things and familiar places instead of unfamiliar ones.
Scientists set up a series of experiments involving a total of 5889 people. In the first study, they asked 500 online volunteers and 663 college and business school students to read hypothetical scenarios in which they had to choose between a new and a familiar experience: for example, reading a new novel or rereading an old one, a favorite, visiting a new city or which they know well and which they once loved.
Half of the participants were told that they simply had to make a choice between the old and the new experience, while the other half believed that this would be the last chance to read this or that novel at all or visit this or that city.
In all situations, participants from the second group preferred the experience they already knew to the new one.
In the following experiments, the researchers went beyond a purely hypothetical survey and studied the behavior of the subjects in both laboratory and real conditions.
For example, in one experiment, they told volunteers that they would receive a gift card to a restaurant, but that it was valid for the next month.
At the same time, one group was informed that they would have few opportunities to visit the institution, while the other was not informed of anything like that.
As a result, 67 percent of the participants in the first group preferred the familiar restaurant to the new one (for comparison, only 48 percent of those who chose the “old” establishment turned out to be in the second group).
According to scientists, this effect is due not only to the fact that familiar things seem more reliable to us: the choice between old and new makes us wonder which is more important to us.
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