Authors: Peng Wang
To well understand crowd behavior, microscopic models have been developed in recent decades, in which an individual’s behavioral/psychological status can be modeled and simulated. A well-known model is the social-force model innovated by physical scientists (Helbing and Molnar, 1995; Helbing, Farkas and Vicsek, 2000; Helbing et al., 2002). This model has been widely accepted and mainly used in simulation of crowd evacuation in the past decade. A problem, however, is that the testing results of the model were not explained in consistency with the social-psychological findings, resulting in misunderstanding of the model by social-psychologists. This paper will bridge the gap between psychological studies and physical explanation about this model. We interpret this physics-based model from a psychological perspective, clarifying that the model is consistent with psychological studies on stress, including time-related stress and interpersonal stress. The simulation result of the model actually reflects Yerkes–Dodson law, explicating how stress could improve or impair human performances in a collective sense.
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