Why does it take less time to get home?

This paper identifies a new bias in consumers’ time perceptions — consumers perceive a journey from a destination to home to be faster than a trip from home to the same destination. In three experiments we demonstrate that this effect occurs both for short trips and for long trips to and from home. We also show that this effect occurs for other familiar locations in addition to home. We discuss several possible causes for this effect and offer preliminary support for one possible reason that involves differences in how consumers spatially encode “home” vs. a destination. Since home is extremely familiar it enjoys a rich mental representation, and therefore, consumers may encode it as a relatively larger geographical area than the less familiar destination. We offer preliminary evidence that this can lead to a directional asymmetry in their feelings of trip progress.

Source: “Spatial categorization and time perception: Why does it take less time to get home?” from Journal of Consumer Psychology

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