Clapping is a contagious chain reaction

London, June 19 (IANS) The amount of applause an audience gives after a performance is a “contagious” chain reaction where people are influenced by one another, and do not depend on the quality of the performance, a Swedish study has found.

Scientists from the University of Uppsala have found that it takes a few people to start clapping for the applause to spread through a group, BBC reported.

It similarly takes just one or two individuals to stop for the applause to die out.

The Swedish study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

“You can get quite different lengths of applause – even if you have the same quality of performance. This is purely coming from the dynamics of the people in the crowd,” lead author Richard Mann was quoted as saying.

The researchers studied video footage of groups of undergraduates as they watched a presentation.

They found that it took just one or two people to put their hands together for a ripple of applause to spread through the crowd.

The claps sparked a chain reaction, where, spurred by the noise, other audience members joined in.

“The pressure comes from the volume of clapping in the room rather than what your neighbour sitting next to you is doing,” Mann said.

The performance – no matter how brilliant it is – has little effect on the duration of the applause.

“And all that comes from is that you have this social pressure to start (clapping), but once you’ve started there’s an equally strong social pressure not to stop, until someone initiates that stopping,” Mann told BBC.

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