movements are 90% predictable
02-26-2010, 05:50 PM
movements are 90% predictable
Struck in a rut? That might be because our movements are 90% predictable
By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 11:55 AM on 25th February 2010
* Comments (7)
Like to think of yourself as a spontaneous sort? You are so predictable.
We are such creatures of habit that scientists can accurately predict where we'll go and when we'll go there more than 90 per cent of the time.
Most of us can usually be found within one to three miles of our home.
Even those with a long commute generally do the same things at around the same time each day, the journal Science reports.
Creatures of habit: Experts can predict where we're going and when we'll arrive
In other words, most of us are stuck in a rut.
Researcher Albert-Laszlo Barbasi said: 'If you drive for one and a half hours to work and back, three hours of your day are taken away so you have little freedom to be spontaneous.
'You are working, and travelling home and pretty much crashing and preparing for the next day.'
Globetrotters also follow a well-trodden path, tending to follow familiar routes, rather than visiting new places.
Professor Barbasi, of the respected Harvard Medical School in the U.S., analysed three months of mobile phone data from 50,000 people.
Logged by billing companies when they made or received calls and text, it allowed the researchers to pinpoint their location to within two miles.
The researchers used this information to build up a pattern of each person's movements during the week and at weekends.
They found they could predict where a person would be at given time and get it right up to 93 per cent of the time.
Even the most spontaneous sorts were 80 per cent predictable.
Professor Barbasi said: 'We are far more predictable than we actually think.
'You have a regular schedule but think there are people out there who are less regular and are very spontaneous.
'What we are finding is there aren't those spontaneous people out there. Each of us are very regular and that regularity makes us very predictable.
'It seems to be something innate to how we are and how we like to behave.
'On the weekend and during the week, old or young, female or male, we all display a very high degree of predictability.'
While most of us won't find it surprising to be told that our days are taken up with going to work and returning home, the research does have practical applications.
For instance, knowing how people move around could help with the planning of cities and road networks.
It could also help combat the spread of diseases such as pandemic flu.
Professor Barbasi said: 'Human mobility is at the basis of how society works. In order to meet people, to work, to have fun, we have to move.
'There are a number of applications that rely on our ability to understand human motion - where you are now, where you are going to be in the evening and where you will be tomorrow at 3pm.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a...z0gf4c7Rxe
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movements are 90% predictable - Apocalypso Now! - 02-26-2010 05:50 PM
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