Crowdedness mediates the effect of social identification on positive emotion in a crowd: a survey of two crowd events

David Novelli, John Drury, Stephen David Reicher, Clifford Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Exposure to crowding is said to be aversive, yet people also seek out and enjoy crowded situations. We surveyed participants at two crowd events to test the prediction of self-categorization theory that variable emotional responses to crowding are a function of social identification with the crowd. In data collected from participants who attended a crowded outdoor music event (n = 48), identification with the crowd predicted feeling less crowded; and there was an indirect effect of identification with the crowd on positive emotion through feeling less crowded. Identification with the crowd also moderated the relation between feeling less crowded and positive emotion. In data collected at a demonstration march (n = 112), identification with the crowd predicted central (most dense) location in the crowd; and there was an indirect effect of identification with the crowd on positive emotion through central location in the crowd. Positive emotion in the crowd also increased over the duration of the crowd event. These findings are in line with the predictions of self-categorization theory. They are inconsistent with approaches that suggest that crowding is inherently aversive; and they cannot easily be explained through the concept of ‘personal space’.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere78983
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Self-categorization theory
  • Social identification
  • Crowds
  • Emotional response

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