Going with the Flow: Learning from Fish Could Prevent Crowd Panic – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Researchers have explained this intuitive behavioral pattern through three basic principles: Rejection, attraction and imitation determine how schools of fish and flocks of bird behave. The animals position themselves equidistantly from each other without touching, and all face the same direction.Humans organize themselves along the same principles: they stand close to each other without touching and all walk in the same direction, at a steady pace. “This similarity between humans and animals is astounding,” Krause says. He does, however, warn against making generalizations.Human behavior, unlike animal behavior, is also shaped by cultural factors, Moussaid found by doing research at the Swiss Federal Institute of technology in Zurich with biologist Dirk Helbing. He managed to prove that 80 percent of Europeans intuitively walk on the right-hand side of the road. Thats the reason why pedestrians dont bump into each other on overcrowded streets. In Asia, on the other hand, pedestrians intuitively favor the left-hand side. “This preference is a culturally acquired phenomenon,” Moussaid explains, so fear not: if you were to emigrate to China, you would soon get used to the change.

via Going with the Flow: Learning from Fish Could Prevent Crowd Panic – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

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