Monday, March 25, 2013

Under Extremes, Big Groups Can Act Like A Force Of Nature

(ISNS) -- Large groups of humans emulate natural phenomena in surprising ways, especially when faced with extreme conditions such as riots, rock concerts, or earthquakes.

They may behave like molecules in a gas or in solid material, schools of fish, or flocks of birds, all without thinking or direction, researchers have found. And sometimes, conditions that look chaotic are not.

While group behavior is more likely to be a topic in a conference of sociologists or psychologists, several groups of physicists at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Baltimore, reported using some techniques of physics to describe and maybe predict human behavior in times of crisis.

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