Friday, 22 February 2008

Crowd behaviour

Some time ago I have dabbled in simplistic modelling of decision making in networked societies. While large scale decisions, in weakly connected environments, such as political choices in country sized society, where most of the participants can interact only indirectly, via many links or via general communication tools, such as media, are rather difficult to study and observe `in real life', it seems that the research on crowd behaviour is much easier.

A recent publication by a group od researchers at the University of Leeds that humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals. It takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realizing it.

Comparing this to animal behaviour might be really interesting. But also the nature of the links in the crowd, where interactions span almost the whole group - but are of necessity very shallow in information transfer (we observe only very superficial and incomplete indcators of others decision reasoning, process and results) is quite interesting.

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