Pedestrian crowds can form the substrate of important socially contagious behaviors, including propagation of visual attention, violence, opinions, and emotional state. However, relating individual to collective behavior is often difficult, and quantitative studies have largely used laboratory experimentation. We present two studies in which we tracked the motion and head direction of 3,325 pedestrians in natural crowds to quantify the extent, influence, and context dependence of socially transmitted visual attention.
Visual attention and the acquisition of information in human crowds
Andrew C. Gallup, Joseph J. Hale, David J. T. Sumpter, Simon Garnier, Alex Kacelnik, John R. Krebs, and Iain D. Couzin
PNAS April 23, 2012