The speed you walk at determines your intelligence …

… in other people’s minds.

The timescale bias is quite a profound thing with serious implications.

Ever noticed that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster than you is a maniac?—George Carlin

That is timescale bias in action.

The interpretation of other minds is an activity that we humans engage in frequently, for example, in reading facial expressions, detecting deception, and managing interpersonal relations.

So, would you want to appear as more intelligent in other people’s minds?

Then keep pace with the crowd.

I mean this one literally.

Sounds silly? Well, research conducted at some US Universities shows that it’s true.

We have the tendency to attribute greater intelligence to people who do things at about the same speed as everyone else.

If you want to look smarter, you need to stop dawdling, but you also need to stop scurrying around like some crazed kiasu robot.

Your walking speed determines your intelligence

We simply tend to judge members of our own ingroup (moving at our own speed) to be more intelligent and hence credit them subconsciously with more complex emotions. We respect, admire, and listen to people who are in our groups (nations, religions, schools, clubs, walking pace, etc.).

So, if you’re into jogging or strolling, you’re going to need another hobby. Synchronized walking anyone? (the impressive part starts at 1.30 min)


Another consequence of this timescale bias?

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) do lean in now.

Fact 1) Singapore has the world’s fastest walkersThe speed you walk at determines your intelligence …

Fact 2) STB wants Singapore to become an even more attractive and vibrant destination where tourists love to come back over and over again.

Fact 3) Visitors to a city may believe its residents to be obtuse or thoughtless if that city’s human traffic and transactions move at a pace to which visitors are unaccustomed (that scientific study again).

Conclusion: Start an all-out campaign to alert Singaporeans to kindly slow down their walking pace in the presence of tourists and – generally – in all tourist hot spots. The heartlands and Public Transport Hubs (due to obvious reasons) are exempted from this new policy.

I would be surprised, if this nudge would not bump up our tourist numbers by at least 3 xx.



xx = million, %,  fold   – you take your pick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *