OSU Researchers Study Our “Tipping Points”

According to new research, most people can’t guess how far another person can push them before their tipping point is reached. And we aren’t talking mental tipping points.
14 degrees from vertical, in this case meaning straight up and down, seemed to be the point where most participants guessed their tipping point was when placed in a device that slowly tipped them backwards.

The study suggests the real tipping point for falling backwards for most people is about 8 to 9 degrees from vertical. Participants’ guesses were even worse when they viewed models in the same backwards-tilting chair. In this part of the study the average guess was nearly 45 degrees from vertical.

The study says this is 35 degrees different from reality.

The study also found that people are bad at estimating all kinds of angels, the steepness of a hill is one example. And it found that we can’t even tell when we are standing up straight.

The study appears in Attention, Perception & Psychophysics