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Human responses to multiple sources of directional information in virtual crowd evacuations

Bode, Nikolai WF and Kemloh Wagoum, Armel U and Codling, Edward A (2014) 'Human responses to multiple sources of directional information in virtual crowd evacuations.' Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 11 (91). p. 20130904. ISSN 1742-5662

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The evacuation of crowds from buildings or vehicles is one example that highlights the importance of understanding how individual-level interactions and decision-making combine and lead to the overall behaviour of crowds. In particular, to make evacuations safer, we need to understand how individuals make movement decisions in crowds. Here, we present an evacuation experiment with over 500 participants testing individual behaviour in an interactive virtual environment. Participants had to choose between different exit routes under the influence of three different types of directional information: static information (signs), dynamic information (movement of simulated crowd) and memorized information, as well as the combined effect of these different sources of directional information. In contrast to signs, crowd movement and memorized information did not have a significant effect on human exit route choice in isolation. However, when we combined the latter two treatments with additional directly conflicting sources of directional information, for example signs, they showed a clear effect by reducing the number of participants that followed the opposing directional information. This suggests that the signals participants observe more closely in isolation do not simply overrule alternative sources of directional information. Age and gender did not consistently explain differences in behaviour in our experiments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: crowd behaviour; decision-making; directional information; emergency evacuations; route choice; virtual environment
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Mathematical Sciences, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 12:30
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:43

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