One day in March 2007, scientists put up a camera in a window overlooking Oxford's Cornmarket Street(a pedestrianised shopping street) and filmed 2822 pedestrians to find out whether or not they would follow the gaze of a stimulus individual or group standing in the street and looking up at the camera for 60 seconds.
I just love this kind of experiments and the kinds of insights they give us into human behaviour, and I may very well have unwittingly taken part in this one, as I do occasionally walk down the Cornmarket Street. Being a keen photographer, I would of course have looked up to see whether there might be something worth snapping.
Anyhow, I've written a feature article about this and similar studies of crowd behaviour, which appears in today's issue of Current Biology:
Is it wise to join the crowd?
Current Biology, Volume 22, Issue 12, R467-R470, 19 June 2012