Empirical Evaluation of Computational Fear Contagion Models in Crowd Dispersions


2013. “Empirical Evaluation of Computational Fear Contagion Models in Crowd Dispersions .” Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, JAAMAS, 27, 2, Pp. 200-217.


t In social psychology, emotional contagion describes the widely observed phenomenon of one person’s emotions being influenced by surrounding people’s emotions. While the overall effect is agreed upon, the underlying mechanism of the spread of emotions has seen little quantification and application to computational agents despite extensive evidence of its impacts in everyday life. In this paper, we examine computational models of emotional contagion by implementing two models ((Bosse et al, 2009b) and (Durupinar, 2010)) that draw from two separate lines of contagion research: thermodynamics-based and epidemiologicalbased. We first perform sensitivity tests on each model in an evacuation simulation, ESCAPES, showing both models to be reasonably robust to parameter variations with certain exceptions. We then compare their ability to reproduce a real crowd panic scene in simulation, showing that the thermodynamics-style model (Bosse et al, 2009b) produces superior results due to the ill-suited contagion mechanism at the core of epidemiological models. We also identify that a graduated effect of fear and proximity-based contagion effects are key to producing the superior results. We then reproduce the methodology on a second video, showing that the same results hold, implying generality of the conclusions reached in the first scene.
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