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Is dancing contagious?

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The more people are doing something previously considered "socially unnacceptable" the more other people are willing to join in. I would suspect that at least the first couple of people to start dancing where staged.

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No, it isn't. Even if it was, that would not constitute a pandemic, merely an acute localised outbreak.

Well, OK, if you have to be clinical about it, but it looked like more fun than the Swine Flu.

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  • 2 months later...

What a fantastic video, worthy of a psycho-analytical study.

In my line of work (musician/sound engineer) I get to see this sort of thing all the time, the behaviour of crowds is always entertaining.


I'd imagine that in this particular video, a lot of the audience really wanted to get up and dance but were too inhibited or embarrassed to do so.

it took a number of catalysts to get everyone up.

one obvious catalyst is alcohol which may account for the first few; as alcohol increases, possibilty of an individual dancer increases accordingly.

Another catilyst is the number of people already dancing.

As the number of individual dancers increase, the number of embarrassed people who are willing to dance increases, as they feel less exposed in a crowd.


Imagine a crowd where half the people will dance if the other half are.

1/4 of the people will dance if 1/4 of the total are dancing

1/8 of the people will dance if 1/8 of the total are

1/16 with 1/16

1/32 with 1/32... and so on.

As in the video, the number of dancers increases exponentially as more people join the crowd.

Another phenomena also happens, the so called 'tipping point'. Where the people who are sat down think

"well, if everyone else is doing it, I shall to so as not to be embarrassed about being the only one NOT dancing.

The opposite is also true. A small group will stop dancing (Usually the most inhibited)

Then a slightly larger number will stop (The slightly less inhibited)

and so on until the dance floor is clear, except for the original dancer who started it all off.


There's probably a very elegant mathematical formula to illustrate this which I hope someone on this forum would be able to furnish us with.

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