The impact of social influence on pre-evacuation behavior - An eye tracking analysis on information gathering during pre-evacuation behavior, comparing normative and informational social influence
Sammanfattning: This study explores social influence within the pre-evacuation phase, which includes a literature review followed by experiments. The study is based on experiments by Latané and Darley (1968) but altered, here using eye tracking to examine if people who are alone use their gaze in the same way as people in a group, when collecting information in the pre-evacuation phase. In total, 50 participants were recruited to perform a bogus task, but the purpose of the study was to examine their actions and behavior when a fire alarm started. Half of the participants performed the bogus task alone (the control group), while the other half performed the task with confederates. Data from the eye tracker and answers from a post-experimental questionnaire were analyzed. The results showed that there is a significant difference between the control group and the group with confederates regarding the number of people evacuating. However, no significant difference was found between the groups when comparing how participants used their eyes to search for information during the fire alarm. Still it was statistically determined that participants who did the experiment with confederates experienced that they were affected by the confederates’ passive behavior. A significant difference was found between the participants who decided to evacuate and those who stayed in the experimental room, regarding how much they looked around in the room. Therefore, where a person looks seems to be crucial for the decision to evacuate. Another identified difference between the control group and the group with confederates was in the initial gathering of information, where more participants in group looked at five items or more than participants who were alone. It is concluded that the presence of other people does affect the pre-evacuation response and the initial gathering of information, but it does not seem to affect how the eyes are overall used.
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