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Author Topic: Why do people walk in time with each other?  (Read 6041 times)

ollie melon

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« on: 07/02/2009 12:30:02 »
ollie melon  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear the naked science team,

I was wondering what makes us all walk in time with each other.  For example when you walk next to someone you seem to adopt there walking pattern, so you step at the same time as them.  I wanted to know was made us do this; is it taken from thousands of years ago to make us sound like one large animal to scare predators, or just a sub-conscious activity that we use to show that we are the same species?

Just a thought, I hope you can answer my question.

Love the show and keep up the good work.

From Ollie aged 15 from Gloucestershire

What do you think?


 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #1 on: 08/02/2009 05:35:56 »
Reminds me of the podcast where they had those mosquitoes and the male and females adjusted their frequencies when they met. Maybe this is something like that?
 

Offline JnA

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #2 on: 08/02/2009 13:57:43 »
It has been a long time since I studied crowd dynamics.. but I recall that pace is determined by crowd size..


I wish I had a better recollection for you...

The tendency to mimic people you are with is quite high.. it's not uncommon for sales people to mimic your actions subtly to make you feel more 'at ease' with them, it's a very well known sales trick... so maybe we 'pace' people as a form of mimicry to communicate our acceptance (not sure that's the right word) of them.
 

Ethos

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #3 on: 04/03/2009 20:52:15 »
If you were ever in the Military, you would know the answer to that one. The reason we step in time with others is because we don't want the guy behind us stepping on our heels.
 

Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #4 on: 04/03/2009 20:59:00 »
Also, if you are walking with someone, you'd probably going to be chatting with them so would want to be level with them.  But, yes the mimicry mentioned aove would be a major reason.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #5 on: 04/03/2009 22:30:34 »
It would be interesting to walk with someone and do a strange walk and then see if the other person copies you. I'm not talking a full blown John Cleese just a slightly odd walk.

I notice that I mimic accents and intonation of people I'm talking with. If you people watch men drinking at the bar the mimicking is very strong.
 

Offline KingJames

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #6 on: 06/03/2009 18:30:47 »

I notice that I mimic accents and intonation of people I'm talking with. If you people watch men drinking at the bar the mimicking is very strong.

That's a great point; I've caught myself doing the same thing!
 

Offline DrN

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #7 on: 06/03/2009 18:38:34 »
It would be interesting to walk with someone and do a strange walk and then see if the other person copies you. I'm not talking a full blown John Cleese just a slightly odd walk.

You have a fantastic sense of humour! Please do this and report back!
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #8 on: 06/03/2009 21:41:33 »
You'll probably have to subtly change into your 'interesting' walk. :)
 

Ethos

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
« Reply #9 on: 07/03/2009 00:25:08 »
Try skipping along side and see what happens...........
 

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Why do people walk in time with each other?
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