Why Do Elevator Users Press Call Buttons Unnecessarily?

Ian Christensen

Wednesday 1st June 1988

People form abstract (or ‘mental’) models to help them predict the behaviour of complex systems. The material for these models comes from analogies drawn with other, better understood, systems and from personal observation of the behaviour of the systems under consideration. The models are intended to be functional, and so long as they serve this purpose the user will cling to them, regardless of whether or not they are accurate in terms on the design of the system being modelled. At least some (and maybe most) of the unnecessary pushing of call and destination buttons by elevator users appears to be generated by the use of such models. There are indications that a deeper understanding of these models may assist the engineer to design control systems that people will abuse less readily.

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