Many crossing lights at many crosswalks are operated by a timer, yet still feature an inactive button for pedestrians to push in order to cross. These types of buttons are sometimes referred to as 'placebo buttons.' Why does the word placebo apply?
The button has no effect.
People misunderstand that a placebo is a sugar pill.
The button overrides the timer and allows pedestrians to cross.
The button has no effect, but people still push it because they believe it does.
Pushing the button is an operantly conditioned behavior.