A recent study published by the University of Iowa’s department of Unimportant Stuff found that the buttons meant to close the doors on elevators across the nation only work after pressing them 20 times.
This shocking discovery came about after Unimportant Stuff head researcher Beau Carson noticed that people he rode elevators with would often repeatedly press the close-door button to no effect. “The door would just close whenever it was programmed to, regardless of the number of clicks the button got,” said Carson.
“I decided to run an experiment to find out if a certain number of button presses was needed to actually close the door sooner than its programmed closing,” said Carson of his study. The study found that the average elevator door only closed sooner than its programmed time if the close-door button was pressed 20 or more times.
“Of course I had to control for the intelligence and motivation some of my grad assistants lacked – it is Iowa after all – but overall what I found is that pressing the close button 20 times before the elevator door closed itself automatically is nearly impossible,” said Carson. “Essentially, pressing the close button is useless, so stop doing it.”