One aspect that I find culturally diriment, in this respect, is the proxemics of the occupants of the elevators in the two great cultures of European origin: the Anglo-Saxons (on one side) and the Mediterraneans and the Neo-Latins (on the other side).
In particular, it is noted how, in the elevator,
1) the Anglo-Saxons are arranged in rows and are turned toward the exit,
2) the Mediterraneans and the Neo-Latins are arranged in a circle, facing inward.
For the Anglo-Saxons, the arrangement in rows and with his face turned toward the exit, minimizes:
- the visual contact between the occupants,
- the verbal communication between the occupants (no one will talk to the one ahead and rarely will talk with those who are near),
- the physical contact between the occupants, favoring a more orderly and rapid outflow (the precedences, in exit, are clearer ): therefore, a less prolonged proximity between the occupants and, in output, a lesser amount of shock (and, therefore, of contacts) between the occupants,
- the gestural communication (as well as visual and verbal) between the occupants who, enjoying clearer priorities, will have a reduced to indulge hand signals (as well as visually and verbally) for grant the precedence.
For the Mediterraneans and the Neo-Latins, the arrangement in a circle and with his back to the wall, shall foster:
- visual contact between the occupants,
- verbal communication between the occupants,
- physical contact between the occupants, favoring a slowdown in the outflow (the precedences in exit are almost equal) and, therefore, a more prolonged proximity between the occupants. In addition, the same equal priority in exit will be another opportunity for physical or visual contact and verbal communication between the occupants since they, in exiting, he will tend to collide, or to grant, gesturally or visually or verbally, precedence.
Therefore, the proxemics in the elevator seems to me to reflect and confirm the division between "peoples of freedom" and "peoples of love" dashed by the neapolitan Luciano De Crescenzo in his film "Così parlo Bellavista" of 1984:
"The men are divided into men of love and men of freedom, depending on whether they prefer to live hugged each other or prefer to live alone for not being bothered.
How are men of love and men of freedom, then there are the nations of love and nations of freedom. Italia, España, Éire, Polska and Ellàda belong to the world of love. England, Skandinavia and Deutschland, instead, belong to the world of freedom.
The British people, people of freedom, have the respect for privacy: in Italy, the British people are the people of Milano [north Italy]. The men of love does not need space: perhaps, it was for them would live always hugged each other.
How do you tell whether a man is or is not a man of freedom? Is very simple: the man of freedom prefer the Christmas tree, the man of love who prefer the Crib.
The men of freedom love take a shower.
The men of love, instead, prefer to take a bath.
The shower is of Milano, because we wash better, uses less water and lose less time.
The bathroom is, rather, Neapolitan [of Napoli, south Italy]: is a meeting with the thoughts, an appointment with the imagination".