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Sexual Differences in Human Crowd Motion


IN an earlier paper1 data were presented on the speed/velocity probability density distributions measured for three human crowds. Ideally all the people in any crowd would have about the same mass and the same probability of having given velocity components and we considered that the three crowds studied—university students, pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and 6–8 year old children in a school playground—were homogeneous with males and females present in about equal numbers. Observations were carried out in 1965–1966 on more than 2,000 people (Table 1). The measured distributions agreed reasonably well with the theoretical distributions obtained from a Maxwell-Boltzmann theory, except near the maximum of each distribution where a significant deviation occurred. The measured distributions all displayed a bimodal character which was tentatively attributed to sexual inhomogeneity among the people. This led to the hypothesis that males and females behaved as though they belonged to different populations in an otherwise homogeneous crowd. The effect was not anticipated during the planning of the observations and the data on the differences between the sexes were not complete enough to test the hypothesis.

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  1. 1

    Henderson, L. F., Nature, 229, 381 (1971).

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HENDERSON, L., LYONS, D. Sexual Differences in Human Crowd Motion. Nature 240, 353–355 (1972).

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