I was reading in the paper that it has now been proven scientifically that a television program is more interesting if interrupted with commercials.
We adapt quickly to pleasurable experiences, according to Prof. Leif Nelson of UC San Diego, who conducted the study. So the brief interruption of the advertisement enhances the program. (Unless it has a fast-moving, complicated plot. Hello 24.)
In other research, Dr. Nelson has found that interruptions of an unpleasant experience similarly increase the unpleasantness.
There are a couple of implications for experience designers. First, when you have something unpleasant, try to get it over with in one session. Example: returning goods for refund.
More generally, I think we need to bring some novelty into good experiences that are predictable, just to break them up a bit and reduce the adaptation. This is why seasonal specialties add so much to the experience in restaurants and coffee shops. We have the pleasure of anticipation of seasonal treats, but don't have them on the menu long enough to get fully adapted to them, and therefore bored.
I think of this as predictable novelty. We like novelty, but not too much. We like small surprises, small delights that exceed our expectations. But we do want to be able to rely on those expectations a bit, too -- things that are complete novelties are difficult to navigate, and generally not pleasurable at all.
For another example, consider artists that completely break with artistic traditions -- they often receive a cold welcome from the public and from art critics, who need time to understand the new thing in order to enjoy it.
The completely predictable is boring. But the completely novel is unsettling. Predictable novelty is pleasurable.
Dr. Nelson has a number of interesting papers on his web site at UC San Diego.