How People Behave In Lift

Researcher Rebekah Rousi did a study on how people behave and interact in elevators. From these observations, there is a clear formation as to how people of different social status line up.

More senior men in particular seemed to direct themselves towards the back of the elevator cabins. In front of them were younger men, and in front of them were women of all ages.

Senior men, I would interpret as not just those with silver hair but also include those that wield considerable power. These people would stand towards the back watching the pack in front of them. It makes me think of the food chain where the preying eyes of the top guns would be overlooking the rest. After reading this story, I start to be more aware of my surrounding. The phenomena I have noticed so far is quite similar to the finding above. Women tend to position themselves at the front and avoid eye contact with others.

There are several more findings to how people react to different elements. Things such having an access card system put people who are working inside more at ease. I assume it’s to create a buffer, albeit a rather thin line of defence of knowing you are safer. You are safer because those who have no business to be in the building wouldn’t be granted access. It’s the knowledge that they have control over who enters the building that reassure people.

Then there’s the part on security desk. Even though commuters know that CCTVs are installed, it doesn’t compare favourably to having an actual man on duty at the desk. No matter how comfortable we are with digital companions, it is evident we would all lean towards a real human being than a machine in the face of danger.

(via Jason Kottke)