Thursday, January 12, 2006

Elevator psychology

It's probably been considered before, but riding in the elevator up to my floor at work yesterday got me thinking. Whenever one person gets on an elevator alone, he/she/it goes straight for the floor panel corner. Convience and such. Say the elevator goes up a floor or two and someone new gets on, this person is going to go to the opposite side. If a third person arrives, this one gravitates toward the center and feels a little uncomfortable. When a fourth hops on, the third goes from the center to one of the back corners. The fourth huddles in the other back corner. With five or more people, it's a freeforall and hopefully no one ate onions.

If you're the first person and you want to have some fun, push the button and when the door closes, go to the back left corner, face the wall and don't move. When the door opens, consider it a lesson in human psychology. By nature, people are impatient. They hate waiting. However, leeriness towards others trumps any impatience in a situation. People are naturally scared of other people. Even people who love everyone hate everyone in an elevator. So if person #1 gives person #2 any reason to be unsure about entering the elevator, person #2 will wait. People are also prisoners to normalcy. My hypothesis is that at least seven of 10 people would not enter an the elevator if someone is facing the wall. It disrupts the normalcy.

I sense a science project.

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