The Fun Theory

Taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator is something we’ve been encouraged to do in order to stay in good shape. Volkswagen expounded on that theory by testing whether making taking the stairs “fun” would have a more positive impact on people. The car manufacturer conducted an experiment by placing a set of stairs designed to look like piano keys next to an escalator at the Odenplan subway station in Stockholm, Sweden. A group of random unsuspecting commuters were tracked when they were given the choice of taking plain steps or the escalator, while another group of commuters were given the same option, but with musical stairs and an escalator. Now, by simply walking up the stairs, commuters could make amazing music. They soon noticed that commuters who normally headed straight for the escalator, paused for a minute — intrigued by the musical stairs — and then actually climbed them, some even jumping from one stair to the other. A 2-day observation of the commuters' behavior revealed a 66% increase in usage of the stairs when they were made fun by making them musical. The company calls the phenomenon, "the fun theory” — using fun to change people's behavior for the better — and plans to conduct many more similar experiments.