NEW YORK (CBS) – Pushing that “door close” button won’t make your next elevator trip any faster.
The head of the National Elevator Industry, Karen Penafiel, confirmed to The New York Times in a recent article that functional close-door buttons have been phased out since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990 (Door open buttons still work). Federal law requires that the doors stay open long enough for those with crutches or a wheelchair to get in the elevator.READ MORE: 2,554 At Massachusetts Schools Test Positive For COVID-19 In Last Week
“The riding public would not be able to make those doors close any faster,” Penafiel told The Times.
And the newspaper notes this is not the only example of placebos “that promote an illusion of control but that in reality do not work.”READ MORE: Stowe Mountain Resort Worker Dies In Zipline Mishap
Signs may tell pedestrians to push a button and wait for the walk signal, but The Times reports that most of those buttons were deactivated more than a decade ago as computer-controlled traffic signals became more popular.
Additionally, some workplaces have installed “dummy thermostats,” according to The Times, and that has cut down on complaints about the temperature in the office.
So why does placebo technology exist? It all comes down to mental health, one local expert says.MORE NEWS: MAP: Town-By-Town COVID Vaccination Rates For School-Aged Children
“Perceived control is very important,” Harvard University psychology professor Ellen Langer tells The Times. “It diminishes stress and promotes well being.”