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Letters to Nature
Nature 259, 557 - 559 (19 February 1976); doi:10.1038/259557a0

The pace of life

MARC H. BORNSTEIN* & HELEN G. BORNSTEIN

*Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, and Max-Planck-lnstitut für Psychiatrie
Max-Planck-lnstitut für Psychiatrie, 8-Munich-40, Kraepelinstrasse 1O, West Germany

THE specific effects of population pressure on the quality of everyday life should be of pressing social and policy concern; and although population studies have proliferated in the behavioural sciences, research has focused primarily on fertility-related behaviours1,2. Moreover, the few social scientists interested in the relationship of the numbers of humans to individual human behaviour have been puzzled by a dearth of clear-cut effects3. This study reports preliminary analyses from a larger cross-cultural investigation of the quality of life. Following a suggestion from Lowin et al. 4, we have systematically observed the rates of pedestrian locomotion over a constant distance in 15 cities and towns in six countries in Europe, Asia and North America. The results of these observations indicate that pace of life varies in a regular fashion with the size of the local population, regardless of the cultural setting.

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References

1. Bartz, W. R., Am. Psychol., 25, 500 (1970).
2. Fawcett, J. T. (ed.), Psychological Perspectives on Population (Basic Books New York, 1973).
3. Lawrence, J. E. S., Psychol. Bull., 81, 712 (1974).
4. Lowin, A., Hottes, H. A., Sandier, B. E., and Bornstein, M. H., J. soc. Psychol., 83, 247 (1971).
5. Wirth, L. J., Am. J. Soc., 44, 1 (1938).
6. Freedman, J. L., in Psychological Perspectives on Population (edit. by Fawcett, J. T.), 234 (Basic Books, New York, 1973).
7. Carnahan, D., Grove, W., and Galle, O. R., Soc. Forces, 53, 63 (1974).
8. Stokols, D., Psychol. Rev., 79, 275 (1972).
9. Desor, J. A., J. Personality soc. Psychol., 21, 79 (1972).
10. Milgram, S., Science, 167, 1461 (1970).
11. Zajonc, R. B., Science, 149, 269 (1965).



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