Whether one person holds a door open for another is not simply a question of etiquette, says a study by Joseph P Santamaria and David A Rosenbaum of Pennsylvania State University. No, they say. Nothing simple about it.
Santamaria and Rosenbaum worked to pursue the answer through a tangle of belief, logic, probability, perception and calculation. Their study, Etiquette and Effort: Holding Doors for Others, was published in 2011 in the journal Psychological Science. It is, one way or another, a gripping read.
Santamaria and Rosenbaum selected a door that gets heavy use by people entering or exiting a building. “We recorded the behaviour of 148 individuals approaching and passing through the door. We determined whether the first person held the door for the follower or followers, how far the follower or followers were from the door, how long it took for the follower or followers to reach the doorway, and how many followers (one or two) followed the first person at the door.”
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