Peer coordination and communication following disaster warnings: An experimental framework

Sera Linardi
  • Safety Science, December 2016, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2016.03.017

Human experiment of peer influence in emergency situations.

What is it about?

I use behavioral and experimental economics to propose an experimental design to compare how evacuation instructions is translated into actions when humans: 1) are isolated, 2) can observe nearby peers’ behavior (e.g see their neighbor), 3) can have 1-on-1 conversations (e.g phone call), and 4) can broadcast messages to the entire community (e.g tweet).

Why is it important?

People are much more likely to follow evacuation instructions, or conversely, disregard them, when others do so. Rapid communication capacity can therefore quickly turn isolated instances of both compliance and noncompliance into the prevailing norm. This design allows policy makers to test the impact of utilizing social influence to improve evacuation outcomes with human subjects.


Dr. Sera Linardi (Author)
University of Pittsburgh

More peer-to-peer communication could lead to better self-organization in evacuation, but this is thus far still an assumption about peer effects that needs to be tested. I hope this article encourages policy makers and technologists to stop and clarify their underlying assumptions about human behavior before implementing new emergency systems.

Read Publication

The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Sera Linardi