Is perception affected by sequencing?
This phenomenon where the difference in magnitude is distorted by the sequence in which they are experienced occurs in numerous ways in everyday life. Imagine that you are looking to buy a suit. Sales people know that you are less likely to purchase a tie if you do not buy a suit first. By purchasing the suit first, the tie will appear to be less of an expense. If you dip your hand in cold water, followed by dipping your hand in tepid water, the cold water will seem colder than if you first dip your hand in the tepid water first. This phenomenon is even found in physical attractiveness. A person of average looks will appear more attractive if he or she is next to someone who is less attractive. There is a story about a girl who arrives home from school with a bad report card. When her parents ask her how her day was, she tells them that the school nurse wants her to go to the hospital as the nurse suspects that she may have contracted tuberculosis. The parents become deeply worried until the daughter tells them that she was joking, that she is fine; however, she did get a bad report card. The parents? reaction to her "joke" reduced their emotional intensity toward the bad report card.