This interactive element illustrates the collective dynamics surrounding a simple binary-choice problem.
Imagine a crowd of people facing a decision between option A and option B, while not knowing for sure which option is better. Such situations are ubiquitous in daily life: a group of commuters choosing between two exit doors in a subway station, shoppers picking one of two checkout lines, people evacuating a building through one of two corridors, or pedestrians choosing between two restaurants. How do people make this decision and what are the collective consequences?
You'll be presented with an animation below where 21 pedestrians face a choice between two exits. Only 20 can exit in each round. The right door is the better option: It fits 12 pedestrians at once, while the left door only has capacity for 8. The pedestrians’ choice is explained by one of these three decision rules:
Click start to observe the first of three simulations. Guess the decision rule the pedestrians are following based on their behavior. If you have already tried out this interactive element you can skip the example simulations.
Now you can configure your own simulation of pedestrians trying to exit through one of the two doors. Their decision rule is set by the parameter. In most-popular mode you can vary the , which is how likely the pedestrians are to imitate others. The parameter determines how many pedestrians appear per round. How many pedestrians exit is defined by the doors’ . By changing the doors’ (making one door bigger or smaller than the other), you can allow more or fewer pedestrians to pass through each door.