A study led by University of Leeds researcher Jens Krause and published in the Animal Behaviour Journal suggests that people unconsciously flock like sheep. A group as small as 5 percent can influence the direction of the entire group.
The researchers put groups of up to 200 people in a hall and told them to move around and not to communicate. A few individuals were told where to walk and every time the crowd eventually followed. Most were unaware that they were being led.
"There are many situations where this information could be used to good effect. At one extreme, it could be used to inform emergency planning strategies and at the other, it could be useful in organizing pedestrian flow in busy areas," said Krause.