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The dynamics of audience applause.

Mann RP, Faria J, Sumpter DJ, Krause J - J R Soc Interface (2013)

Bottom Line: Individuals' probability of starting clapping increased in proportion to the number of other audience members already 'infected' by this social contagion, regardless of their spatial proximity.The cessation of applause is similarly socially mediated, but is to a lesser degree controlled by the reluctance of individuals to clap too many times.We also found consistent differences between individuals in their willingness to start and stop clapping.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, Uppsala University, Uppsala 75106, Sweden. rmann@math.uu.se

ABSTRACT
The study of social identity and crowd psychology looks at how and why individual people change their behaviour in response to others. Within a group, a new behaviour can emerge first in a few individuals before it spreads rapidly to all other members. A number of mathematical models have been hypothesized to describe these social contagion phenomena, but these models remain largely untested against empirical data. We used Bayesian model selection to test between various hypotheses about the spread of a simple social behaviour, applause after an academic presentation. Individuals' probability of starting clapping increased in proportion to the number of other audience members already 'infected' by this social contagion, regardless of their spatial proximity. The cessation of applause is similarly socially mediated, but is to a lesser degree controlled by the reluctance of individuals to clap too many times. We also found consistent differences between individuals in their willingness to start and stop clapping. The social contagion model arising from our analysis predicts that the time the audience spends clapping can vary considerably, even in the absence of any differences in the quality of the presentations they have heard.

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Distribution over 10 000 simulation runs of average number of claps performed per individual, shown with grey bars. All parameter values are the same as in figure 3a. The simulation is run 10 000 times and the average number of claps performed is recorded for each run. The figure is then a proportional distribution over all outcomes. Black stars indicate the mean number of claps performed per individual in each experimental presentation. The dashed line shows a Poisson distribution matched to the same mean as the simulated distribution, showing that shorter and longer bouts are more common in the simulation than expected under a Poisson model. (Online version in colour.)
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RSIF20130466F4: Distribution over 10 000 simulation runs of average number of claps performed per individual, shown with grey bars. All parameter values are the same as in figure 3a. The simulation is run 10 000 times and the average number of claps performed is recorded for each run. The figure is then a proportional distribution over all outcomes. Black stars indicate the mean number of claps performed per individual in each experimental presentation. The dashed line shows a Poisson distribution matched to the same mean as the simulated distribution, showing that shorter and longer bouts are more common in the simulation than expected under a Poisson model. (Online version in colour.)

Mentions: An intriguing model prediction is that the length of time the audience spends clapping varies considerably (figure 4). Running the simulation multiple times, we see a large variability in the average number of claps across trials. While the majority of clapping bouts involve only 9–15 claps per person, some bouts can last over 30 claps. Compared with a Poisson distribution, the distribution arising from the simulation is more skewed towards both short and long bouts. This variability does not arise from any difference in the stimulus (i.e. the parameter values are the same for each simulation) but is rather a property of the social interaction involved in clapping and the variability in when stopping is initiated by through the non-social aspect of the model. The mean number of claps performed in each experimental presentation, indicated by black stars, all lie within the central 95 per cent of the simulated distribution.Figure 4.


The dynamics of audience applause.

Mann RP, Faria J, Sumpter DJ, Krause J - J R Soc Interface (2013)

Distribution over 10 000 simulation runs of average number of claps performed per individual, shown with grey bars. All parameter values are the same as in figure 3a. The simulation is run 10 000 times and the average number of claps performed is recorded for each run. The figure is then a proportional distribution over all outcomes. Black stars indicate the mean number of claps performed per individual in each experimental presentation. The dashed line shows a Poisson distribution matched to the same mean as the simulated distribution, showing that shorter and longer bouts are more common in the simulation than expected under a Poisson model. (Online version in colour.)
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4043176&req=5

RSIF20130466F4: Distribution over 10 000 simulation runs of average number of claps performed per individual, shown with grey bars. All parameter values are the same as in figure 3a. The simulation is run 10 000 times and the average number of claps performed is recorded for each run. The figure is then a proportional distribution over all outcomes. Black stars indicate the mean number of claps performed per individual in each experimental presentation. The dashed line shows a Poisson distribution matched to the same mean as the simulated distribution, showing that shorter and longer bouts are more common in the simulation than expected under a Poisson model. (Online version in colour.)
Mentions: An intriguing model prediction is that the length of time the audience spends clapping varies considerably (figure 4). Running the simulation multiple times, we see a large variability in the average number of claps across trials. While the majority of clapping bouts involve only 9–15 claps per person, some bouts can last over 30 claps. Compared with a Poisson distribution, the distribution arising from the simulation is more skewed towards both short and long bouts. This variability does not arise from any difference in the stimulus (i.e. the parameter values are the same for each simulation) but is rather a property of the social interaction involved in clapping and the variability in when stopping is initiated by through the non-social aspect of the model. The mean number of claps performed in each experimental presentation, indicated by black stars, all lie within the central 95 per cent of the simulated distribution.Figure 4.

Bottom Line: Individuals' probability of starting clapping increased in proportion to the number of other audience members already 'infected' by this social contagion, regardless of their spatial proximity.The cessation of applause is similarly socially mediated, but is to a lesser degree controlled by the reluctance of individuals to clap too many times.We also found consistent differences between individuals in their willingness to start and stop clapping.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, Uppsala University, Uppsala 75106, Sweden. rmann@math.uu.se

ABSTRACT
The study of social identity and crowd psychology looks at how and why individual people change their behaviour in response to others. Within a group, a new behaviour can emerge first in a few individuals before it spreads rapidly to all other members. A number of mathematical models have been hypothesized to describe these social contagion phenomena, but these models remain largely untested against empirical data. We used Bayesian model selection to test between various hypotheses about the spread of a simple social behaviour, applause after an academic presentation. Individuals' probability of starting clapping increased in proportion to the number of other audience members already 'infected' by this social contagion, regardless of their spatial proximity. The cessation of applause is similarly socially mediated, but is to a lesser degree controlled by the reluctance of individuals to clap too many times. We also found consistent differences between individuals in their willingness to start and stop clapping. The social contagion model arising from our analysis predicts that the time the audience spends clapping can vary considerably, even in the absence of any differences in the quality of the presentations they have heard.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus