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How Crowd Behavior Acts Like Flowing Water

When you have been engulfed in a crowd, it can be described like a sea of people and that may be an accurate depiction as a new study has found that big crowds tend to flow like water. A previous study explained that crowds exhibited emergent behavior that could help predict the movement of crowds, this time researchers use hydrodynamic theory to explain crowd behavior.

Large human crowds exhibit fluid-like collective behavior that can be predicted based solely on hydrodynamic theory, according to a new study (Bain and Bartolo, 2019) published today in the journal Science. This pioneering research shows, for the first time, how crowds of people flow like water in ways that appear to override so-called “interaction rules” between individuals.

(Image credit: Rob Curran/Unsplash)


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Before the tragic WHO concert in Cincinnati, I was in a crowd waiting to get into an arena for an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer concert. It was "festival seating" and when they opened a door or two the crowd began to move. For a few seconds I felt helpless as the motion of bodies seemed uncontrolled. Fortunately it subsided and entry went smoothly.
When the WHO tragedy happened, I could understand how it could have gotten out of hand.
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