Information use by humans during dynamic route choice in virtual crowd evacuations

Nikolai Bode, Armel Ulrich Kemloh Wagoum, Edward Codling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)
252 Downloads (Pure)


We conducted a computer-based experiment with over 450 human participants and used a Bayesian model selection approach to explore dynamic exit route choice mechanisms of individuals in simulated crowd evacuations. In contrast to previous work, we explicitly explore the use of time-dependent and time-independent information in decision-making. Our findings suggest that participants tended to base their exit choices on time-dependent information, such as differences in queue lengths and queue speeds at exits rather than on time-independent information, such as differences in exit widths or exit route length. We found weak support for similar decision-making mechanisms under a stress-inducing experimental treatment. However, under this treatment participants were less able or willing to adjust their original exit choice in the course of the evacuation. Our experiment is not a direct test of behaviour in real evacuations, but it does highlight the role different types of information and stress play in real human decision-making in a virtual environment. Our findings may be useful in identifying topics for future study on real human crowd movements or for developing more realistic agent-based simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number140410
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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