LOS ANGELES - Always running late? Your friends and family may be exasperated, but science wants to know “Why?” too.
A group of neuroscientists published a study in the journal Hippocampus that may offer some insight into what causes our chronic tardiness. They found that people tend to underestimate how long it will take to travel routes they take almost every day. It happens, even though we think the routes are longer than they actually are, because we know every corner and landmark on the journey. The more often we visit a place, the more likely we are to think we could reach it in an impossibly short time.
So we aren’t late because we’re inconsiderate, but because familiarity affects how the brain perceives time and space.
We might not be able to change how bad humans are at judging those two things, but we can recognize this is happening, and trick ourselves into being punctual by OVERestimating the amount of time we need to get somewhere. It’s a lot easier than coming up with another excuse.