Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting back from a trip 'ahead of time'

Date:
August 25, 2011
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
After returning from holiday, it's likely you felt that the journey home by plane, car or train went much quicker than the outward journey, even though in fact both distances and journey are usually the same. So why the difference? According to a new study, it seems that many people find that, when taking a trip, the way back seems shorter. The findings suggest that this effect is caused by the different expectations we have, rather than being more familiar with the route on a return journey.

After returning from holiday, it's likely you felt that the journey home by plane, car or train went much quicker than the outward journey, even though in fact both distances and journey are usually the same. So why the difference? According to a new study by Niels van de Ven and his colleagues, it seems that many people find that, when taking a trip, the way back seems shorter.

Their findings, published online in Springer's Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, suggest that this effect is caused by the different expectations we have, rather than being more familiar with the route on a return journey.

"People often underestimate how long the outward journey takes and this is therefore experienced as long," says Niels van de Ven from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. "Based on that feeling, the traveller expects the return journey to be long as well, and this then turns out to be shorter than expected." An overoptimistic prior estimation of the journey time thus leads to the illusion of the return journey being shorter.

This conclusion was based on three short studies where 350 people either took a trip by bus, by bicycle or watched a video of a person taking a bicycle ride. When the duration estimates were compared, respondents thought that the return journey on average went by 22 percent faster than the outward journey. The return trip effect was largest for participants who reported that the initial trip felt disappointingly long. Further, when one group of participants was told that the upcoming trip would seem long, the return trip effect disappeared. Ironically, telling participants that the upcoming trip was going to be very long led them to experience the trip as taking less time.

Up until now, a popular explanation for the return journey feeling shorter was that it was better known and so more predictable than the outward journey. However in their study, the researchers demonstrated that this explanation is unlikely. According to co-author Michael Roy from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, USA: "The 'return trip effect' also existed when respondents took a different, but equidistant, return route. You do not need to recognize a route to experience the effect."

Ultimately, the researchers hope to be able to explain more than just this return trip effect. The authors conclude: "These findings on the 'return trip effect' can help us make new predictions on how people experience the duration of tasks, even those unrelated to travelling."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Niels Ven, Leon Rijswijk, Michael M. Roy. The return trip effect: Why the return trip often seems to take less time. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2011; DOI: 10.3758/s13423-011-0150-5

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Getting back from a trip 'ahead of time'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825123106.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2011, August 25). Getting back from a trip 'ahead of time'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825123106.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Getting back from a trip 'ahead of time'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825123106.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins