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Applause is a 'social contagion'

Posted on Thursday, 20 June, 2013 | Comment icon 15 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: CC 3.0 Calebrw

 
The amount of applause a performance receives may be more down to the dynamics of the crowd.

A new study examined the way in which applause starts and ends, revealing that the length and intensity of clapping is more down to how people in the crowd behave more than it is down to the quality of the performance. It can take just a small number of people to begin applauding to generate a full ovation and it can take just a couple of people to stop clapping to bring the applause to a halt.

"You can get quite different lengths of applause - even if you have the same quality of performance," said Lead author Dr Richard Mann. "This is purely coming form the dynamics of the people in the crowd."

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

  View: Full article

 Source: BBC News


  Discuss: View comments (15)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Darkwind on 20 June, 2013, 19:38
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.
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 21 June, 2013, 0:44
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"
Comment icon #8 Posted by LostSouls7 on 21 June, 2013, 3:56
I think if it's a good performance .. then the people will clap...
Comment icon #9 Posted by Darkwind on 21 June, 2013, 11:15
Not all cultures clap, though. I wonder if it matters what is used?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Seeker79 on 21 June, 2013, 13:11
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.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Frank Merton on 21 June, 2013, 13:16
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.
Comment icon #12 Posted by the L on 21 June, 2013, 14:02
What is more intruiging is that all of sudden applaud is start to slower and more syncronized then again become faster, how?
Comment icon #13 Posted by mfluder on 22 June, 2013, 5:02
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.
Comment icon #14 Posted by curiouse on 27 June, 2013, 11:25
Not enough people seem to clap anymore. Pity it used to be a sign of Respect,Gratitude,Thanks etc, sadly it's diminishing.
Comment icon #15 Posted by scowl on 27 June, 2013, 17:08
A lot of bands around here don't deserve applause, yet people applaud anyway. That's delivering the wrong message if you ask me. Some of them even say "Thank you! Thank you!" when only a couple of girls are clapping and the rest of the room is silent so maybe it doesn't make any difference. American audiences are generally friendly to live bands who aren't very good, especially if you didn't pay to see them. Audiences in other countries like Australia and those in the U.K. are notoriously less patient with musicians when they don't feel they're getting an acceptable performance.


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