Empirically, I feel like sorting things in real life is not the same as sorting things for a computer. Algorithms like and merge sort and quicksort are the fastest things to sort for computers in the long run, but if I were to sit down and sort a thousand books alphabetically I don't see myself using either of them.
I can think of a couple of reasons off the top of my head why the sorting speed of an algorithm doesn't map to real life.
- Swapping items is not constant time in real life. The more items you have in a row, the further you have to run to find something.
- Indexing is not constant time. Unless you're sorting items in numbered slots, you're not going to be able to find the 110th item easily.
- Most real life array operations are faster. For example, you can take an item from the end of a row of objects and move it to the other end.
I'm going to narrow the question a little further and say that we aren't sorting things by any obvious, intuitive traits like size. Say we're sorting a thousand equal sized books alphabetically by title listed on the spine.
What other factors of human intuition can influence the way a human sorts objects and what would be the fastest way to sort these books?