Why Can't People Wearing Earphones Walk in a Straight Line?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by exchemist, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yet again this morning I struggled to pass someone walking ahead of me. Every time I moved up get past, they drifted across and almost bumped me. I have experienced this numerous times. What is the reason?

    Do the earphones somehow affect balance?
    Is it that their attention is elsewhere and they are oblivious to wandering from side to side at random, implying presumably that we all do that if we are not focused on our walking?
    Is it that we normally rely on hearing a person behind us to cause us walk straight and give them a chance to come past?
    Or something else?

    It's rather annoying.
     
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  3. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    Like that?

    I haven't come across that yet. What maddens me is cyclist with earphones or even cyclists "walking" dogs.
     
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps, it is related to which ear is receiving the loudest(dominant) sound?
     
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  7. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    You might experiment with the odd pavement hogger by walking behind with some kind of sound emitting device. See if you can steer him or her in one direction or the other.

    You could progress to mass movements in a kind of Pied Piper way. (following ,not leading)
     
  8. birch Valued Senior Member

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    you can shove them into traffic, depending on which side of the street they are on, they will be hit from behind or look up to be hit head-on. wave with exaggerated gestures to alert them, of course, as that is the humane thing to do. that is a lesson they will never forget.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes I've wondered about clearing my throat loudly as I come up behind them, so they know there is someone there.
     
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    What an evil sense of humour you have! Actually I don't feel that bad about them - I'm more curious as to why they weave about slightly, that's all.
     
  11. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    It would be funny if you could hack their device in a "Candid Camera" kind of way.
     
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I've often thought about those guys (it's always guys) with the mobile phones that clip on the ear and make them look like a Vulcan, that it would be fun to think you could take them over and control them with a joystick - make them walk into walls, suddenly do star jumps, and so on.
     
  13. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

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    It doesn't seem to make car drivers listening to their radio in the cocoon of their car wander around the road. So, I think your right in thinking it's something to do with wearing something on or about the head?? I have yet to observe two or more wearers collide. No doubt later there will be an App for some kind of proximity alert to remedy this case.
     
  14. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    532
    This is an intrinsically funny (weaving) thread.

    Perhaps they can incorporate (?) the headphones into the next Zombie movie... (perhaps putting headphones on the Zombies could incapacitate them or make them stupidly benign)
     
  15. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Listening to Taylor Swift?

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  16. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    Michael Jackson might work. except it might make them more frightening.

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  17. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Shudder

    Now you have them Moon Walking backwards????

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  18. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    Walking is easier and safer than driving (so weaving would not seem necessary to correct) . But drivers do weave too.

    Also walkers weave without headphones a fair bit.

    There might be confirmation bias,exchemist?
     
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Possibly, though normally I don't have too much trouble walking in London in the rush hour.

    People looking at phones as they walk is something else again, if course.....
     
  20. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    If they are listening to music perhaps the rhythm could interfere with their movement.

    Have you noticed they are moving more slowly than others which might show their attention is divided?
     
  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I used to walk to work with my Walkman playing Black Sabbath or some such thing. One day a car accelerated and I (thought I) heard his fan-belt squeak. Then I asked myself how I could hear a squeak over the loud music - and I realized that I actually smelled burning rubber.
     
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  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Aha, so the trick is to fart as you approach, so they can detect you that way.
     
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  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Texting drivers weave in much the same manner. Perhaps equip pedestrians with horns?
     

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