British people are known for their inherent love of queuing but, according to academics, their willingness to wait their turn is governed by a rule of six.

A study by researchers at University College London found people will wait for an average of six minutes before giving up. People are also unlikely to join a queue of more than six people.

However, when it comes to growing too irritated and leaving the queue, the feeling virtually disappears if the number of people behind them has grown to six or more.

And in keeping with the theme, the report also revealed a six-inch (15.24cm) radius is the minimum amount of personal space that needs to be afforded to a person in a queue, to avoid raising anxiety levels.

Advertisement

Professor Adrian Furnham, who co-authored the report, said: "The British have a well-established culture of queuing and a very specific type of queue conduct, one that has been known to confuse many a foreign visitor.

"In a time when Britain is changing rapidly, and the ways in which we queue are shifting, the psychology behind British queuing is more important than ever - it is one of the keys to unlocking British culture."

The study was based on a review of academic literature on everyday queuing including at banks, ATMs and supermarkets.

According to Furnham, the very public nature of queue jumping can cause a strong sense of injustice. Engaging in conversation was also included on the list of social practices viewed as unacceptable.

The research was conducted by Privilege Home Insurance.