Effect of task length on remembered and predicted duration

Michael M. Roy, Elizabethtown College
Nicholas J.S. Christenfeld, University of California, San Diego


Vierordt's (1868) law states that when estimating the duration of a previous task, people overestimate short durations and underestimate long ones. We examine whether this same pattern holds for remembered and predicted duration for tasks lasting between 1 and 15 min. In support of Vierordt's law and its extension to future duration estimates, task duration tended to be overestimated for short tasks (less than 2 min) and underestimated for long tasks for both remembered and predicted duration. Copyright 2008 Psychonomic Society, Inc.