To determine how crowd behavior emerges from individual actions, William Warren, professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences, assembled his own crowds and engaged them in an unusual four-day experiment in Sayles Hall. The subjects were equipped with motion capture markers affixed like antennae to bike helmets.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — What must the staid-faced University luminaries in those portraits around Sayles Hall have thought while they watched this scene play out for four days last week? Over and over, two to 20 young men and women in bike helmets adorned with what appeared to be five large antennae walked back and forth across a cardboard-covered floor. En route to goals marked by numbers just beneath the portraits, they dodged each other and arrangements of cardboard pillars. Each time they generated patterns of foot traffic. (more…)