Measuring social influence and group formation during evacuation process

Adriana Balboa, Arturo Cuesta, Daniel Alvear


Evacuees are likely to respond and move forming groups. However specific data about grouping is generally unavailable and the relationship between response and movement times and specific groupings are unknown. Using a simple method, we measure behavioural cohesion of occupants during evacuation processes. The case study involves using the method in a bus station, a sport centre and a library. Results suggest that proximity (visual/verbal contact) is an important factor but not decisive in the formation of evacuation groups. Social ties and whether occupants share a target and/or an activity before the alarm are also deemed to be important factors. This study provides an exciting opportunity to advance our knowledge of social influence and group formation during evacuation.


collective behaviour; evacuation groups; behavioural cohesion; social influence; evacuation process

Full Text:



B. Latane, and J.M. Darley, “Group inhibition of bystander intervention emergencies”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 10, pp. 215-221, 1968.

R. H. Turner and L. M. Killian. Collective Behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1987

B. E. Aguirre, D. Wenger and G. Vigo, “A test of the emergent norm theory of collective behaviour”, Sociological Forum, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 301-320, 1998

E. L. Quarantelli, “The Nature and Conditions of Panic”, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 267– 275, 1954

E. Kuligowski, “Human Behaviour in Fire”, in SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 2016, pp. 2070-2114.

A. Cuesta, O. Abreu and D. Alvear, “Methods for measuring collective behaviour in evacuees”, Safety Science, vol. 88, pp. 54-63, 2016.

W. Panichkitkosolkul, “Asymptotic confidence interval for the coefficient of variation of Poisson distribution: a simulation study”, Maejo International Journal of Science and Technology, vol. 4, pp. 1–7, 2010

M. Gulhar et al., “A comparison of some confidence intervals for estimating the population coefficient of variation: a simulation study”, Statistics and Operations Research Transactions, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 45–68, 2012

G. E. Miller, “Asymptotic test statistics for coefficients of variation”, Communications in Statistics- Theory Methods, vol. 20, no. 10, pp. 3351–3363, 1991.

G. E. Miller and Karson, “Testing the equality of two coefficients of variation”, American Statistics. Association: Proceedings of the Business and Economic Section, Part I, pp. 278–283, 1977.

J. D. Curto and J. C. Pinto, “The coefficient of variation asymptotic distribution in the case of non-iid random variables”, Journal of Applied Statistics, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 21–32, 2009


Copyright (c) 2020 Adriana Balboa, Arturo Cuesta, Daniel Alvear

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.