Assessing the Psychosocial Elements of Crowds at Mass Gatherings

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Prehospital and disaster medicine: the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 12/2011; 26(6):414-21. DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X12000155
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The environmental aspects of mass gatherings that can affect the health and safety of the crowd have been well described. Although it has been recognized that the nature of the crowd will directly impact the health and safety of the crowd, the majority of research focuses on crowd behavior in a negative context such as violence or conflict. Within the mass gathering literature, there is no agreement on what crowd behavior, crowd mood and crowd type actually mean. At the same time, these elements have a number of applications, including event management and mass gathering medicine. These questions are worthy of exploration.
This paper will report on a pilot project undertaken to evaluate how effective current crowd assessment tools are in understanding the psychosocial domain of a mass gathering event.
The pilot project highlighted the need for a more consistent descriptive data set that focuses on crowd behavior.
The descriptive data collected in this study provide a beginning insight into the science of understanding crowds at a mass gathering event. This pilot has commenced a process of quantifying the psychosocial nature of an event. To maximize the value of this work, future research is required to understand the interplay among the three domains of mass gatherings (physical, environmental and psychological), along with the effects of each element within the domains on safety and health outcomes for participants at mass gatherings.

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Available from: Alison Hutton, Apr 01, 2015
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    • "Copyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCNS audience behaviour in a negative context such as violence or conflict [3] [4]. Additionally there is no agreement on what audience behaviour, mood and type actually mean. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Mass Gathering Data Acquisition and Analysis (MaGDAA) project involved the development of hardware and software solutions to facilitate the rapid and effective collection of autonomous and survey based data during mass gathering events. The aim of the project was the development and trial of a purpose-built Open Hardware based envi-ronment monitoring sensor prototypes using IOIO (pronounced "yoyo") boards. Data from these sensors, and other de-vices, was collected using Open Source software running on Android powered mobile phones, tablets and other open hardware based platforms. Data was shared using a Wi-Fi mesh network based on an Open Source project called The Serval Project. Additional data in the form of survey based questionnaires were collected using ODK Collect, one of the applications in the Open Data Kit suite. The MaGDAA project demonstrated that it is possible for researchers (through the use of Open Source software and Open Hardware) to own, visualise, and share data without the difficulties of set-ting up and maintaining servers. MaGDAA proved to be an effective infrastructure independent sensor logging network that enables a broad range of data collection (demographic, predispositions, motivations, psychosocial and environ-mental influencers and modifiers of audience behaviour, cultural value) in the field of mass gathering research.
    International Journal of Communications, Network and System Sciences 06/2013; 6(6):309-315. DOI:10.4236/ijcns.2013.66033 · 0.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction The purpose of this critical review is to look at the current literature regarding mass gatherings and to create further understanding of this area with a particular focus on what the audience brings with them to the event, particularly in a planned event with a cultural theme or focus. Through an understanding of these predispositions and consequent effects on audience behavior in a mass-gathering setting, a more complete understanding of motivation factors of crowds and audiences can also be found. METHODS: A critical review of mass-gathering literature was undertaken by searching various online academic databases. Peer-reviewed scholarly articles relevant to the cultural aspects associated with religious, sporting and music mass gatherings were also analyzed. RESULTS: Results from the review show that the word "culture" is often used to explain what happens at the event without reflecting how the motivations or behaviors of audiences at an event are influenced by the cultural predispositions of the audience. CONCLUSIONS: By understanding the cultural predispositions of the audience, event planners and designers, event risk managers and event safety personnel are able to better understand the motivation of the audience and how this might impact on audience behavior at the event. Further work needs to be done, however, to investigate the broader range of predispositions. The ultimate aim of developing this understanding is to better inform the health promotion and public health messages that can be developed for a particular type of event based on the likely composition of the audience in attendance. Hutton A , Brown S , Verdonk N . Exploring culture: audience predispositions and consequent effects on audience behavior in a mass-gathering setting. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(3):1-6 .
    Prehospital and disaster medicine: the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 03/2013; 28(03):1-6. DOI:10.1017/S1049023X13000228
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    ABSTRACT: Outdoor music festivals are increasingly common events on the summer entertainment landscape for youth in many countries around the world. Evidence indicates that attendance is associated with risk of injury and death. A considerable proportion of crowd-related risks are attributed to irrational and high-risk behaviour by patrons in the general admission, or standing room only, areas in front of stages, or ‘mosh pits’. While there is endorsement in the literature for a risk management approach, risk assessments for music festivals and mass gatherings generally tend to deal with the traditional hazards and risks, without taking into account the dynamics of the crowd or those factors that influence its behaviour. Influences on crowd behaviour are little understood and generally ignored, leaving a significant source of risk at this type of event unaccounted for. A number of commentators recommend that a comprehensive approach to crowd safety assessment, design and management needs to integrate both psychological and engineering frames of reference. This paper outlines how a general risk management methodology can be contextualised to include behavioural factors in order to comprehensively assess crowd safety risks at outdoor music festivals.
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