Interrupting pleasurable activities makes them more pleasurable

Eric Barker links to a paper showing that good experiences become more pleasurable (and bad experiences less pleasurable) when they are interrupted. Showering in India means filling a bucket with (thankfully) hot water and scooping it over your head, pausing to rub in shampoo and soap. It isn't that bad, probably in large part because of the effect stated above. Each scoop of hot water is a mini-rush of relief. I am wondering whether user control has an effect. For instance, interrupting the flow of a continuous tap may make the experience more pleasurable but you also may get annoyed with yourself for not leaving the tap on all the time. Constructing an unreliable faucet, that would stay on between ten and twenty seconds and shut off at random intervals of one to five seconds, so that the water is running around 75% of the time, would lead to the optimal showering experience. This suggests we could probably have a better experience surfing the Web if we turned it off for minutes or hours at a time, and also suggests that kicking a drug addiction would be extremely difficult.

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