Title

Timeless Demonstrations of Parkinson's First Law

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-1999

Abstract

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion," Parkinson's law, is an explanation classic that has survived without an artifact-free demonstration at the individual level. To evaluate Parkinson's law, undergraduate subjects expected to judge four sets of photos effaces with reference to a subjective criterion. The experimental subjects, who were told that the fourth set was canceled before they began work on the third set, dallied on the third set; that is, as compared with controls, they prolonged work. The cancellation-dalliance effect was reobtained in two exact replications. It was obtained again in a fourth study, a conceptual replication wherein subjects processed negatively toned phrases against an objective criterion. The generalizability of the effect and explanations for it are discussed.

DOI

10.3758/BF03210823

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