'Door close' buttons on most elevators don't work for a reason

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It is often tempting to press the door-close button in an elevator, but that effort will likely not make the doors move any faster.

This is because, as the New York Times reports, these buttons became largely obsolete in the early 1990s soon after the Americans with Disabilities Act was put into effect.

According the article, because the law specifies that elevators must give disabled people enough time to get on, the mechanism to potentially disrupt that transition was no longer maintained.

And as elevators are typically overhauled every 25 years or so, the likelihood that any functioning close buttons remain is low.

Interestingly, the buttons still exist for mental health purposes; the New York Times piece quotes a Harvard psychologist as explaining, "Perceived control is very important. It diminishes stress and promotes well being."

Similar so-called "placebo buttons" are also known to exist at many pedestrian crosswalks and building thermostats, notes Science Alert.

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