Do as they do
We’re a herdlike species.
As Cialdini, author of best seller, Influence puts it, “People want to do what they think others will do.” And this learning is being used across diverse situations, including getting people to reuse their towels at hotels, encouraging people to go out and vote, and getting teenagers to stay off drugs.
All of us have sometime or the other been influenced by group behavior. What happens in this elevator is a brilliant example of how we would behave in group situations, which is deeply rooted in behavior psychology.
As Cialdini mentions in his NPR interview, many classical findings in social psychology demonstrate the power of social proof to influence other people’s actions.
To take just one, in an experiment conducted by scientist Stanley Milgram and colleagues, an assistant of the researchers stopped on a busy New York City sidewalk and gazed skyward for sixty seconds. Most passersby simply walked around the man without even glancing to see what he was looking at. However, when the researchers added four other men to that group of sky gazers, the number of passersby who joined them more than quadrupled.