A traffic jam can teach us quite a lot about human nature.
In the US, when there’s an accident on the side of the road, traffic in the other direction slows down. People voluntarily slow down and look over at the carnage.
This is nuts.
These very same people would never pay money to go to a movie filled with car wrecks that hurt real people. And yet, they do it from their car. It turns out we’re very interested in things that are happening in real time, right next to us.
Not only that, but the jam created by this voluntarily slowdown can last for an hour or more. And yet, when it’s your turn, when you get to the front of the line, instead of saying, “well, I got punished for the bad behavior of the 1,000 people ahead of me, I’m going to fix that and speed up now,” we say, “hey, I paid my dues, my turn to look…”
And of course, the nature of variance means that human-controlled cars on the highway have to go much slower when they are closer together. And so the slowdown ripples backwards, because instead of leaving plenty of space so that they can all speed up quickly, we inch together, ensuring that the jam will take even longer.
Every time you think that the human beings you seek to serve are rational, profit-seeking, long-term decision makers, visualize a rubbernecking traffic jam.
Reblogged from: here