The Well-Travelled Road Effect: Why Familiar Routes Fly By

Posted on June 21, 2013

Here's a common experience for motorists: you are driving somewhere new and you're late.

As you drive down unfamiliar roads it seems that everything is conspiring against you: other cars, the road-layout, the traffic lights and even suicidal cyclists. You know it's only a few more miles, but it seems to be taking for-e-e-e-e-e-ever.

Psychologically there are all sorts of things going on to make the journey seem longer than it really is, but let's just isolate one of those: the unfamiliarity of the route.

Unknown routes peak our curiosity; they are filled with new names, landscapes and landmarks, all of which attract the interest. The fact that our attention is engaged with all this newness has a subtle effect on how much time we think has passed.

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Source material from PsyBlog