Researchers study why return trips seems shorter

Researchers Studied Why Return Trip Seems Shorter
Researchers Studied Why Return Trip Seems Shorter

The return leg of a round trip journey often feels shorter than the typically identical outbound route, and researchers are exploring the mechanisms behind it.

A recent study has tested the existence of and psychology involved in this phenomenon which has been termed the "return trip effect."

The team found that it does exist but only when people are asked to remember the trip after it happened, not during the individual segments themselves.

To arrive at this conclusion, 20 male participants between the ages of 20 and 30 watched videos taken by a pedestrian en route to a destination.

Ten men watched a back-and-forth trip along the same route while the others in the control group viewed a trip with two completely different legs.

It was only during a questionnaire taken after the movies were viewed that perceived time differences were noted.

Researchers hypothesize that the psychological difference on the second leg may have to do with route familiarity, an overestimation of journey time, or a lack of stress about timeliness.