Walking together: Behavioural signatures of psychological crowds

Anne Templeton, John Drury, Andrew Philippides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Research in crowd psychology has demonstrated key differences between the behaviour of physical crowds where members are in the same place at the same time, and the collective behaviour of psychological crowds where the entire crowd perceive themselves to be part of the same group through a shared social identity. As yet, no research has investigated the behavioural effects that a shared social identity has on crowd movement at a pedestrian level. To investigate the direction and extent to which social identity influences the movement of crowds, 280 trajectories were tracked as participants walked in one of two conditions: (1) a psychological crowd primed to share a social identity; (2) a naturally occurring physical crowd. Behaviour was compared both within and between the conditions. In comparison to the physical crowd, members of the psychological crowd (i) walked slower, (ii) walked further, and (iii) maintained closer proximity. In addition, pedestrians who had to manoeuvre around the psychological crowd behaved differently to pedestrians who had to manoeuvre past the naturally occurring crowd. We conclude that the behavioural differences between physical and psychological crowds must be taken into account when considering crowd behaviour in event safety management and computer models of crowds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number7
Early online date25 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • crowd movement
  • social identity
  • pedestrian
  • movement
  • pedestrian modelling


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