What's the name of this cognitive bias?

by pete22 1 min read6th Jul 201323 comments


Picture a circular road on a map. Let's say that my office is at twelve o'clock, my home is at five o'clock, and the post office is at three o'clock.

Now, suppose I have to leave work, pick up a document at home, and take it to the post office to mail it. I know it's faster to walk clockwise home, passing the post office, and then return to it with the letter. But my gut preference is to go counterclockwise, either because of an aversion to retracing my steps, or because that route just ... feels "cleaner" or more efficient somehow, or ... I can't articulate it any better than that.

Does anyone else share this intuition? Is it a manifestation of one or more known/studied effects?