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Do you Face the Doors when Riding in an Elevator?

Elevator Experiment

When you walk into an elevator you probably step in, press the floor you want to go to, and face the doors. Some people may squeeze into a corner, stand right in front of the buttons, or even right in the middle anxiously waiting to get where they are going. In the 60s, a social experiment was done on Candid Camera that proved basic social norms could be reversed using group conformity.

Check out the following video of a similar experiment that shows pieces of the original one. Students from the University of South Florida recreated the experiment. Watch how unsuspecting elevator riders were easily tricked into an uncomfortable situation through the power of social pressure.

After watching the video, what do you think you would do? Every single person who was in the elevator faced the back just because everyone else did. In the original experiment you see one rider’s somewhat “suave” way of conforming to the other passengers by checking his watch. The college students very quickly turned around, as not to be different or seem “weird”. Their subconscious feeling of wanting to “fit in” took over and they gave into the social pressure.

This experiment proves a few things. 1) That people are incredibly awkward on elevators. Notice how no one says anything, they just turn around like the rest of the passengers. 2) People need to “fit in” and be like the rest of the group, even if it means breaking norms and doing something that is different from what they normally do. Next time you take a ride in an elevator face the back and see what happens!


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