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 psychological findings, resulting in misunderstanding of the model by 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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