Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

How to navigate a crowd

Great tips from Wired magazine’s November 2011 edition:

Navigate a Crowd

Exiting a concert or ball game seems to take far longer than entering one. But because crowds can be highly predictable, it’s possible to outsmart the masses. Walk this way.—Katharine Gammon

Aim for the outside
The outer edges of crowds generally move faster than the sludgy middle of the pack. A researcher in London studied such so-called edge effects by making videos of groups of people squeezing through corridors of various sizes. Sure enough, people tended to move faster along the walls. Other studies suggest why: People start bumping into each other when crowd density reaches around 7 to 10 square feet per person—something that usually happens in the denser middle area—and that jams the flow.

Take the express lane
People naturally form lines when walking in crowds. It’s generally good to stay in one of these lines rather than race ahead, which might force others to put on the brakes. “There’s a lot of self-organization in crowds, but the problems come when people transition from a flow to stop-and-go—then things get turbulent” says Dirk Helbing, who studies social behavior at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Look ahead
One of the best ways to navigate through a crowd is to lead with your eyes: Look directly ahead, which allows others to see clearly where you want to go. If you keep your gaze fixed, others will instinctively get out of the way. Finnish researchers found that people register cues from others’ eyes, not body position, to avoid head-on collisions.

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January 5, 2012 - Posted by | lifehack |

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