An Empirical Study on People’s Behavior Under Panic

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Date Submitted: 05/23/2013 01:48 AM

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Meraner Michael

An Empirical Study on People’s

Behavior under Panic

1. Introduction

How would you react in a situation of extreme panic? Assuming you would see a house on fire and a person that seems trapped in the flames? Would you call the police first, or would you call the fire department? Would you run inside the house to try and save the person? Or would you just look away and hope (or assume) that someone else will take measures and that your acting is not necessary?

This paper is trying to make us understand more deeply how people might or will react. Your choice would, most likely, differ considerably if you’re asked in a non-stressful situation. Imagine lying on a cozy sofa and someone asks you what measures you would take. Would your answer be different from what you would actually do, when you are in a potentially dangerous and doubtless stressful situation? Most likely not.

2. Design

The experiment is divided into several groups and three parts. One group of 50 participants (Group P for permanent) that will take part in all sections of the experiment and 3 groups of 50 people each (Group A, B and C) that will each take part in one section of the experiment. The three sections are as follows:

1) In an enjoyable and safe atmosphere group P and group A are asked how they would react in the above mentioned scenario in that they see a house on fire. The participants can choose between a) running into the house and saving the victim, b) calling police or fire department, c)trying to find by standing people to develop a plan together or d) looking away and assuming that someone else will or has already called the police or taken other actions.

2) The scene of the burning house is being reenacted. The participants of group B and group P (group P takes part in all sections as mentioned and group A, B and C participate in section 1, 2 and 3 respectively) are informed that the situation is not real and that neither they nor the...