PhD ceremony: Ms. F.E.H. Wijermans, 14.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Understanding crowd behaviour. Simulating situated individuals
Promotor(s): prof. R.J.J.M. Jorna
Faculty: Economics and Business
Crowd behaviour is a complex and dynamic phenomenon. A scarcity of testable theories together with difﬁculties in performing controlled experiments make understanding of crowd behaviour a challenge. This thesis sets out to increase understanding of crowd behaviour. Despite the myths about crowd behaviour, current crowd research indicates that crowd behaviour is context dependent, dynamic and generated by individuals. Given the current state of knowledge and the fact that controlled experiments on crowds cannot be performed, both the need for a theory that reﬂects the dynamic interplay between individuals and their environment as the need for a method that allows for testing theory were identiﬁed. The CROSS model developed in this thesis, meets these two needs. CROSS advances by adding a description of behaviour at the cognitive (intra-individual) level as well as the use of simulation experiment to test theory. By means of these simulation experiments the formation and change of crowd behaviour patterns is explored in a festival setting. Results of these ex¬periments indicate that a distinction can be made between the physical context predominantly affecting what is of inﬂuence on behaviour, whereas the social context plays affects how behaviour is inﬂuenced. The results indicate that explanation of crowd behaviour always requires a complete image of the interplay between individuals and their context. Overall, a different light is shed on crowd behaviour by the multi-disciplinary approach taken in theory building and the method used by CROSS.
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