Tech UPTechnologyThis is the limit of places you will visit...

This is the limit of places you will visit in your life

A city is a living organism that is constantly changing and offers its inhabitants endless ways to hang out. Big cities are so rich in restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the dilemma of what to try first. Well, it does not matter because, according to a recent study on human behavior, people return to a maximum of 25 places at any time.

The study entitled ‘Evidence for a conserved amount of human mobility’ published in Nature Human Behavior has analyzed some 40,000 people and was the first research work of its kind to address the mobility of people over time and study the behavior changes. Doctors Laura Alessandretti and Andrea Baronchelli are responsible for the project carried out by the mathematics department of the University of London together with Professor Sune Lehmann of the Technical University of Denmark. The Sony Mobile Communications company has collaborated in the investigation.

At first, 1,000 university students were analyzed and the result was that they all returned to a limited number of places even if they were changing. ‘I was expecting a different behavior among the students and a more diverse selection of the population to show,’ says Dr Alessandretti. However, when the same process was carried out with 40,000 subjects of different habits, genders and origins, the results were the same, to the surprise of the research team.

 

Out with the old, in with the new

The study shows that there is a tendency to visit new places : moving to another house, going to a new restaurant or bar, changing the gym … But despite this fact, the number of places visited regularly is always 25 in the same period of time. When a new place appears, a previous one is eliminated. This pattern continued to be present when the researchers divided the locations into categories based on the frequency of visits or the time spent in them.

‘People always have their curiosity and their vagrancy on a scale. We want to explore and get to know new places but also continue going to the old ones that we like, ‘ adds Dr. Baronchelli. As a result of this behavior, the dynamics arises whereby a fixed number of places are always visited without other factors, such as lack of time, affecting. The team claims to have found a relationship between this phenomenon and other limits in social life such as the number of social interactions that a person is able to maintain.

At first, 1000 university students were analyzed and the result was that they all returned to a limited number of places even if they were changing. ‘I was expecting a different behavior among the students and a more diverse selection of the population to show,’ says Dr Alessandretti. However, when the same process was carried out with 40,000 subjects of different habits, genders and origins, the results were the same, to the surprise of the research team.
Out with the old, in with the new
The study shows that there is a tendency to visit new places: moving to another house, going to a new restaurant or bar, changing the gym … But despite this fact, the number of places visited regularly is always 25 in the same period of time. When a new place appears, a previous one is eliminated. This pattern continued to be present when the researchers divided the locations into categories based on the frequency of visits or the time spent in them.
‘People always have their curiosity and their vagrancy on a scale. We want to explore and get to know new places but also continue going to the old ones that we like, ‘adds Dr. Baronchelli. As a result of this behavior, the dynamic arises whereby a fixed number of places are always visited without other factors, such as lack of time, being related. The team claims to have found a relationship between this phenomenon and other limits in social life such as the number of social interactions that a person is able to maintain.

The study also has certain connections to the discoveries of anthropologist Robin Dunbar , who showed that there is a limit to how many friends you can have. Among the results obtained, a relationship was seen between social behavior and the number of places that are visited, as those subjects who visited more places were more likely to have a greater number of friends.

Dr. Baronchelli believes that these results ‘establish a first connection between human mobility and social cognition’ , and that it could be used to design better public spaces and better transport systems, as well as a more comfortable and healthy urban environment.

Reference: Laura Alessandretti & Andrea Baronchelli. ‘Evidence for a conserved quantity in human mobility’. Nature Human Behavior, 2018. Doi: 10.1038 / s41562-012-0364-x

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