Conformity behavior during a fire disaster

Qi Duo1, Huizhang Shen1, Jidi Zhao2, Xiaomin Gong1
1Department of Management Information Systems, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, People’s Republic of China
2School of Public Administration, East China Normal University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Duo, Q., Shen, H., Zhao, J., & Gong, X. (2016). Conformity behavior during a fire disaster. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(2), 313-324.

Volume 44 Issue 2 | e5046 | Published: March 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.2.313

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A fire disaster can involve severe personal injury, and individuals may take various actions to respond to such threats—in particular, following others’ behavior when trying to escape. In this experimental study, 114 participants watched a video about escaping from a fire, then prepared an emotional-experience report and decided which of 2 or 4 options they would choose in a situation. Results revealed that individuals exposed to a fire situation experienced a significantly higher level of fear activation, inferior decision-making performance, and higher conformity tendency than did those exposed to a nonemergency situation. Further, the number of choices offered for making an escape was negatively related to conformity behavior, and decision-making performance was found to be a dual mediator both between the level of fear activation and conformity behavior and between the number of choices and conformity behavior.

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