The (mis)use of controversial terminologies in evacuation research

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


As researchers working in the field of pedestrian dynamics, we have experienced that a presentation of a piece of research on the topic of crowd evacuation, whether to an academic audience or lay audience, barely goes by without researchers being confronted with these questions: How about the effect of panic? The question is also often accompanied by follow-up questions on irrational behaviour during evacuations and herding and/or stampede phenomena and how we take those into account in our computational models or experimentations. The presenters will critically analyse the use of these controversial terms and their scientific suitability in evacuation research. They address:
• The origin of these notions in social psychology and their current stand on these theories
• The origin and infiltration of these terms into evacuation research
• The prevalence of these terms in the literature and its variation over time & geographical regions
• The implications of the use of the terms on evacuation research and crowd management practice
Clear recommendations will be made on how the controversy surrounding these terms could be addressed in future publications.
Period9 Feb 2022
Event titleInternational Association for Fire Safety Science: Human Behaviour in Fires Working Group
Event typeSeminar
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Crowd safety
  • Safety management
  • Evacuation