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Applause is a 'social contagion'

clapping applause social contagion audience performance

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:54 PM

The quality of a performance does not drive the amount of applause an audience gives, a study suggests.

Instead scientists have found that clapping is contagious, and the length of an ovation is influenced by how other members of the crowd behave.

They say it takes a few people to start clapping for applause to spread through a group, and then just one or two individuals to stop for it to die out.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-22957099

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#2    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 02:06 PM

I always wanted to start a slow clap in a crowd and see if others did it also

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#3    Frank Merton

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 02:11 PM

An "applaud" sign always seems to help.


#4    Mantis914

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:50 PM

Any curious action can be contagious.  If a person stands by a roadside pointing at something, sooner or later, there's going to be others that come along and say, "Whatcha looking at?".  Another one that gets attention is running, if you see someone running away like they are running for their lives, chances are people will move out of the way quickly and/or start running also.

I tend to disagree with the applause theory, have you seen when the President (and not just Obama) gives a speech like the ones they usually show on C-SPAN, if you look at the opposing party, they stay stonefaced while the President's affiliated party is clapping and cheering.


#5    Skeptic Chicken

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:03 PM

I never clap first; to avoid that awkward moment where no-one else claps.


#6    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:27 PM

View PostSkeptic Chicken, on 20 June 2013 - 05:03 PM, said:

I never clap first; to avoid that awkward moment where no-one else claps.
I honostly dont think that would happen, IF you started clapping atleast one other person would join you, hell if I was in the crowd Id join you :tu:
Also what are the odds you would see any of those people that were in the crowd ever again

Edited by R4z3rsPar4d0x, 20 June 2013 - 05:28 PM.

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#7    GreenmansGod

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:38 PM

I was at a concert one time and the band was slow coming out. I started a slow clap, soon the whole theater started.  The band came out; I wonder what would have happen if they hadn't.

Edited by Darkwind, 20 June 2013 - 07:39 PM.

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#8    pallidin

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:44 AM

Yeah, that happens, especially with "people pleaser's"

They clap even if they truly don't want to. Just because the rest of the crowd is clapping.

I think it's called "pack mentality" and has been shown to be very existant in many species.

Note: The same type of thing can happen with "boo's"


#9    LostSouls7

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 03:56 AM

I think if it's a good performance .. then the people will clap...

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#10    GreenmansGod

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:15 AM

Not all cultures clap, though.  I wonder if it matters what is used?

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#11    White Crane Feather

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:11 PM

When I was in high school all the kids raised their hands in salute when the almamater was played. I just couldnt do it. It felt silly to 'hail' a high school. I wanted to a few times but It just felt so awkward even though I was the only one not doing it.

I'm sort of a contrarian when it comes to large group dynamics. I don't know why... Mabey it's an ego thing.

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#12    Frank Merton

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:16 PM

Exhibitionist types who end up performing on stage seem to appreciate it a lot.  I think I would be embarrassed.  Still, everyone needs reinforcement some times or they stop.


#13    Big Bad Voodoo

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 02:02 PM

What is more intruiging is that all of sudden applaud is start to slower and more syncronized then again become faster, how?

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#14    mfluder

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 05:02 AM

As an actor, I can definitely say that the "mood" of the audience is a huge factor in applause and certainly laughter during a show.  This research doesn't surprise me at all.  There are nights when the crowd just wants to laugh at everything, and nights where they are so intent on not missing anything, nobody makes a noise at all, which sucks if you're in a comedy.


#15    curiouse

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:25 AM

Not enough people seem to clap anymore. Pity it used to be a sign of Respect,Gratitude,Thanks etc, sadly it's diminishing.





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