MEASURING CROWD BEHAVIOUR AT A FOOTBALL MATCH
Tan, G., Nair, E. and Ong, S.K., University of Singapore, Singapore
In applied psychology, the scientific observation of crowd behaviour has been a challenge to many researchers. A soccer match provides an ideal environment for researchers to study the actions of an individual in relation to the spectrum of behaviours exhibited by an aroused crowd. However, the systematic recording of the cheering, jeering, shouting, booing, singing and clapping that can possibly reach deafening levels of 110 decibels has been a daunting task for most social researchers. The present study employs quantitative and qualitative methods of recording and detailing the multitude of behaviours exhibited at a soccer match. Various checklists, audio recordings and naturalistic observations of a soccer crowd and an unknowing individual crowd member, enabled researchers to examine the range of emotions displayed by the crowd as the action on the pitch fluctuated. The various methods also led researchers to conclude that the degree of deindividuation in the observed individual was directly dependent on the frequency and magnitude of emotional responses of the surrounding crowd. Data gathered via the various methods allowed for statistical comparison and triangulation. The findings demonstrated that the reactions of the crowd were influenced greatly by the proceedings of the match and could potentially evoke deindividuated responses in individual crowd members. The collective responses can be dangerous when subjected to specific environmental and situational factors. The preliminary work of establishing adequate response measures would be a first step in the successful prediction of potentially dangerous crowd behaviour.