It actually comes down to the order in which these things happen. And that’s the connection with the Halloween candy study. With the Halloween candy study, the kids got the great treat first and then a lesser treat afterward.
With the colonoscopies, they got the unpleasant procedure first and then they got something slightly less unpleasant afterward. And it turns out that when we think about experiences, we don’t think about the experience as a whole — we are significantly biased by how the experience ends.
So if we have a great experience that starts to go downhill, we rate the overall experience as being less good. Whereas if something starts out terribly and then starts to get better toward the end, we rate the overall experience a little bit better. Wolford actually has a theory to explain this.