Why the Line You're Not Waiting in Seems Faster

Geo Beats
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Have you ever noticed that the lines at the supermarket, or lanes of traffic appear to move faster when you’re not in them? This idea has to do with a psychological error called illusory correlation, where two things that are not related appear to have an association.

Have you ever noticed that the lanes of traffic or lines at the supermarket appear to move faster when you’re not in them?

This idea has to do with a psychological error called illusory correlation, where two things that are not related appear to have an association.

Instinctually knowing about cause and effect is an important part of day to day life.

However, these same principles are often mistakenly applied to situations or things that are not actually related by an experience known as “illusory correlation”. Another error often made is the universe-victim theory.

For instance, when stuck in slow traffic you may think the next lane is moving quicker, but both lanes are likely averaging the same speed.

Getting frustrated by waiting can also lead us to over analyze the situation and think about how to make it better for ourselves.

When we aren’t in direct control, waiting makes us perceive our own movement as very slow.

One study found that in traffic jams, more time is spent being passed by other cars, than it is passing other cars, which might make us feel like the other lane is moving faster. At the end of the day, the world is not out to get us after all.

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