PLACEBO BUTTONS. I had never heard the phrase “placebo button”” until recently, but I find that it even has its own wikipedia entry. The entry says: “A placebo button is a push-button with apparent functionality that actually has no effect when pressed. Such buttons can be psychologically rewarding to pressers by giving an illusion of control.”

Now this article in the Daily Mail by Stacy Liberatore (October 27) shows that placebo buttons are everywhere.

*Close buttons on elevators are inconsistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990, and have not been repaired since then.

*Walk lights at crosswalks are inconsistent with computer-controlled traffic lights. New York City figures state that out of the 3,250 crosswalk buttons, 2,500 have been replaced with placebos. It is too expensive to remove the buttons.

*A majority of the thermostats installed in offices are decoys. Service calls are reduced because people have the illusion that they have control over temperatures.

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One Response to PLACEBO BUTTONS.

  1. Jane says:

    The close button in our building definitely works and we love it. It saves so much time! Countless minutes, I imagine, have been salvaged. I feel a bit guilty now though, knowing the reason why most of them don’t work.

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