Why Does The Way Back Feels Shorter

Way back always seems shorter. When we return home from some place, it seems to us that the road takes us less time than when we go “there.” The distance and travel time can not be changed. New studies shed light on the mysteries of this effect and explain why we appreciate the time in different ways.

For such complex beings, we are too bad in the evaluation time. Especially in the short time – seconds, minutes, hours. Our assessment is dependent on subjective factors, the mood and what we are doing.

Scientists offered volunteers to make a simulated trip. Participants watched a 20-minute video in which a man was in the city to a certain place. One group of volunteers “walk” with a man only in one direction, while the other – came back. Volunteers from the second group thought that the road back took less time – so called return trip effect.

We think that we have spent less time when we ride along the familiar road.

According to the scientists, when we go somewhere, we are optimistic: we believe that we will reach faster than it does in reality. As our optimistic expectations about the way not justified, by planning the way back, we, on the contrary, we expect that it will take a lot of time. Because of these expectations, the way back seems not so long.

Time passes slowly when we are in a hurry

Another explanation of the alleged effect of turning back due to our experiences because of the possible delay. When we go to some place, we often need to be there at a certain time. Due to the fact that we worry, is there enough time for this time, it seems to us that we were going too long. When we return home, we do not hurry.

When we have scheduled a meeting, our brains are more focused on the evaluation of travel time. Returning home, our attention is relaxed, we do not notice how time passes, so the road seems quick.

The effect of the reverse path is somewhat similar to the assessment of past events

Whe we ride on the new road, our brain assesses new information and time pass slover because of number of neurons woking – we store information, estimate the road dificulties, and on the way back we ride on familiar one and our mind doesn’t worry about possible troubles – they are already assessed.

The return trip effect may occur for each of these reasons alone or in total. So far, researchers have only trying to understand the nature of the effect, and we continue to feel time differently, regardless of the logic and clock.