A study of courteous behavior on the University of Texas campus

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2010-12

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Abstract

This study focused on measuring courteous behavior on the University of Texas at Austin (UT) students on campus. This behavior was measured through analyzing various factors involved when a person opened the door for another. The goal was to determine which factors would significantly affect the probability that a person would hold a door for another. Three UT buildings with no automatic doors were selected (RLM, FAC and GRE), and 200 pairs of students at each location were observed to see whether they would open doors for others. These subjects were not disturbed during the data collection process. For each observation, the door holding conditions, genders, position (whether it was the one who opened the door or the recipient of this courteous gesture, abbreviated as recipient), distance between the person opening the door and the recipient, and the number of recipients were recorded. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to analyze the data. The results showed that the probability of people opening the doors for others was significantly affected by gender, position, distance between the person opening the door and the recipient, the number of recipients, and the interaction term between gender and position. The study revealed that men had a slightly higher propensity of opening the doors for the recipients. The odds for men were a multiplicative factor of 1.09 of that for women on average, holding all other factors constant. However, women had much higher probability of having doors held open for them. The odds for men were a multiplicative factor of 0.55 of that for women on average, holding all other factors constant. In terms of the distance between the person opening the door and the recipient, for each meter increase in distance, the odds that the door would be held open would decrease by a multiplicative factor of 0.40 on average. Additionally, for each increase in number of recipients, the odds that the door would be held open would increase by a multiplicative factor of 1.32 on average.

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