Walking in Circles


Have you ever seen one of those movies where a person is lost and leaves something behind to see if they pass that way again? There is a reason why this is important. Without a guide, people do walk in circles. A German study found that without absolute references like the sun or the moon, people attempting to walk in a straight line in unfamiliar territory will instead walk in circles. Researchers had people attempt to walk straight in one direction for several hours through a flat forest in the Sahara desert. Some walkers had the sun or moon to guide them, while others walked while clouds obscured their reference point. When the sun or moon was visible, subjects walked a perfectly straight line. But whenever this reference was absent, subjects invariably walked in circles, often crossing their own paths several times each.


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