Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Uncovering a new angle on mental distance: Feeling closer leads to poor judgement of space

Date:
April 10, 2014
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Why does the second hour of a journey seem shorter than the first? Research suggests that the answer lies in how we're physically oriented in space. Research has demonstrated that a person's orientation -- the direction they are headed -- changed how they thought of an object or event. "Feeling close to or distant from something impacts our behavior and judgment," says the lead author. "We feel more socially connected, more emotionally engaged, and more attuned to the present when something is perceived as close."

"Feeling close to or distant from something impacts our behavior and judgment," says Maglio. "We feel more socially connected, more emotionally engaged, and more attuned to the present when something is perceived as close."
Credit: fottoo / Fotolia

Why does the second hour of a journey seem shorter than the first? According to research from University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) and the Rotman School of Management, the answer lies in how we're physically oriented in space.

Related Articles


In a series of six studies, Sam Maglio, an assistant professor in UTSC's Department of Management, demonstrated that a person's orientation -- the direction they are headed -- changed how they thought of an object or event.

The research is forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"Feeling close to or distant from something impacts our behavior and judgment," says Maglio. "We feel more socially connected, more emotionally engaged, and more attuned to the present when something is perceived as close."

What we don't know is what leads to a feeling of closeness, he says. Previous studies have focused on changing objective measures, such as distance or time, to make something feel subjectively close or far.

"But people move around their environments, constantly going closer to some things and farther from others," says Maglio. "We wanted to see if this movement changed how people perceived their surroundings."

Using everyday locations and objects such as subway stations, lottery draws, and Starbucks drinks, Maglio and Evan Polman (University of Wisconsin-Madison) found that people heading in a certain direction considered the places ahead to be physically nearer than those behind, although the actual distance was the same.

People also felt events that occurred in the direction they were headed happened more recently and that those events would be more likely to occur. Interestingly, the feeling of closeness occurred regardless of whether events were good or bad. Strangers who were coming towards participants were thought to be more similar to themselves than when those same strangers were headed away.

Maglio says the research supports previous findings showing that something that feels close in one way, such as physical distance, will also feel close in time, probability, and social similarity. "That's why a phrase such as A long time ago in a distant land makes more intuitive sense than in a nearby land."

According to Maglio, this research could potentially impact business, such as retail: "Firms that induce a sense of orientation towards the customer might be able to create psychological closeness and connection."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Uncovering a new angle on mental distance: Feeling closer leads to poor judgement of space." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410131506.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2014, April 10). Uncovering a new angle on mental distance: Feeling closer leads to poor judgement of space. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410131506.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Uncovering a new angle on mental distance: Feeling closer leads to poor judgement of space." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410131506.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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