I’m secretly working on a prodigious research study I plan to submit to Harvard or Stanford for publication. They don’t know it’s coming yet, and it will knock their academic socks off.
My thesis is that adults in the United States fall into one of two categories that determines much of their social, mental and physical state of health. When driving a car and seeing a green traffic light in the distance, my test subjects will either speed up, hoping to beat the red, or they will slow down, in preparation for making a safe, traffic-delaying stop.
My plan is to make my way across the country conducting extensive traffic-light-monitoring studies. I’ll split participants into Group A: the “speed up” drivers, and Group B: the “slow down” drivers. My hypothesis is I’ll find a statistically significant variation from state to state, with tons of Group As in the Northeast, and a lot more Group B folks in Florida and Arizona.
Because I’m a devoted and evidence-based kind of researcher, I’ll follow-up on my initial studies with a statistically significant number of exit interviews. I’ll flag down drivers from each aggregate to ask questions. Heck, I’ll probably be able to chase down those Group B drivers on foot, since they seem to have no issue with gobbling up time for themselves and those behind them.
Catching up with Group A drivers will require a greater effort, one that may necessitate the use of special lab materials, such as roadblocks or flashing red lights.
Here’s what I think I’ll find:
My “slow down” sample group will be leading longer lives. They will be social, talkative people, with a love of family, particularly great-grandchildren. But don’t get me wrong, there will be younger participants in this group too. Maybe some will have gotten perfect scores on their driver’s test, or have jobs that put them on the road, but still pay them by the hour.
My “speed up” group will be a lot more uptight. Many will be downright rude when I explain the exciting theoretical framework and methodology of my research. They’ll likely be running late for important appointments, zipping around in smaller, faster cars, and texting while behind the wheel. As a group, they will run into more early health issues, whether that comes from personal injury or high blood pressure. My findings will also show that this group doesn’t live as long, though they’ll seem to think they get more done on any given day.
Don’t think my study will be skewed by personal bias. Close friends of mine fall into both groups. As for me, I’m definitely a “speed up” kind of guy, who is trying to change my behavior so I can slow down more and smell the roses, while reducing my driver violation points.
So I ask you: What category do you fall into today? The answer may have a bearing on the rest of your life.