Longer is definitely better

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Washington, Sept 6 (ANI): Why would you choose a 5000 year-old painting better over a 100-year-old? You would most probably believe the older, the better - which seems to be a rule of thumb when it comes to deciding the worth of something, says a new study.

"The length of time something has been established seems to serve as a cue to its goodness. The longer a policy, medical practice, painting, tree or consumer good was said to exist, the more favourably it was evaluated," the researchers wrote.

When asked to choose between four techniques of acupuncture that differed only by the length of time the practice was in use, the participants chose the one that had been in practice the longest.

In another study, when asked to evaluate a painting, participants chose the one they believed to be older.

One alternative explanation remained, the researchers wrote, "People may infer from time in existence that others evaluate the object or practice positively."

For the last study, the researchers asked participants to choose between two chocolates, and once again, they chose the item they were told had been on the market longer. The reasons given were taste, texture and sweetness, and smell but no one indicated time on the market.

"The only reason affected by our manipulation was taste; participants thought it was more important to their evaluation the longer the chocolate was on the market," the researchers wrote.

"These findings speak to the lure of tradition. From products to politicians, companies to cultures, assumptions of goodness from time in existence abound.

"Longevity may also add another hurdle to overcome on the road toward social change. Overcoming the status quo is tricky, but overcoming a time-honored tradition is substantially more difficult."

The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. (ANI)

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