Research scientists from the University of Essex recently collected data on crowd behavior using a zombie-themed video game! The simulation was featured as part of the Science Museum’s ZombieLab event earlier this year in London, and focused on how stress can affect decision-making and crowd behavior during emergency evacuations.
“Events such as ZombieLab might sound trivial, but it brought a horde of 12,000 visitors to the Science Museum to explore and take part in cutting-edge science,” said Kat Nilsson, Head of Contemporary Science at the Science Museum. “ZombieLab was a brilliant opportunity for our visitors to get involved in real research, providing enough data for new insights into crowd behaviour to be published.”
Lead researcher Dr. Nikolai Bode and colleague Dr. Edward Codling created a game that forced players to escape from a building under stressful conditions, and published their results in the scientific journal Animal Behaviour.
In addition, the ZombieLab event featured a number of interactive live games, mass experiments and a series of short talks including a zombie trial. With a specific focus on cognitive abilities, brain functions and human consciousness the event also studied group awareness and herd mentality; key factors in understanding the results of the original experiment.
The amazing video embedded below provides a great overview of the entire experience. And you can learn more about the actual study online at Science Daily, or the event itself by visiting the ZombieLab page at the official Science Museum website. Further details including additional videos, Tweets and stories are also available courtesy of Storify.