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Do People Take Longer When Someone Is Waiting? Perception vs. Reality *

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Maybe this has happened to you: you're going shopping with one of your parents and the parking lot is really crowded. You're helping out, scouting for an empty space. You see someone heading toward their car, taking their keys out, and you point them out. At last, you're going to get a spot. You wait for the person to pull out so you can park. Does it take them longer because you're waiting? Do they move out faster? Or does it just seem that they do? For information on people's perceptions, you can conduct a random survey. You can find out what actually happens by doing an observational study. Time people leaving parking places in lots, both with and without someone waiting. Or perhaps you can think of another, similar situation to observe repeatedly. In any case, you'll have to pick a standard method for deciding when to start running the clock (in the case of parking, perhaps when the person leaving first touches their car). Safety note: be sure to position yourself safely on a sidewalk, away from the moving cars. (Burnette-McGrath, 2004)

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Science Buddies Staff. "Do People Take Longer When Someone Is Waiting? Perception vs. Reality" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Soc_p019.shtml>

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Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Do People Take Longer When Someone Is Waiting? Perception vs. Reality. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Soc_p019.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30


Burnette-McGrath, M., 2004. "Poky Parking: Does It Take Longer to Vacate a Parking Spot When Someone Is Waiting? Perception vs. Reality," California State Science Fair Project Abstract [accessed February 1, 2006] http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2004/Projects/J1702.pdf.

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