ERIC Number: ED203404
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Intra-Audience Effects at Sporting Events.
Hocking, John E.
The phenomenon of crowd behavior at sports events is examined in this paper. Previous treatments of why spectators enjoy watching sports events are examined, showing that these studies have largely ignored the potential role of intraaudience influence processes. A brief literature review notes the role of feedback between the communication event and the audience. The next section of the paper introduces four theoretical perspectives that postulate different social influence processes on crowd behavior: (1) contagion theory, which emphasizes the transformation of normal individuals into members of a "collective mind"; (2) convergence theory, which argues that a self-selection process results in a group of similar individuals being in the same crowd and subsequently feeling and behaving similarly; (3) emergent norm theory, which predicts that individuals in a crowd act in particular ways because they believe that a particular behavior is appropriate or required; and (4) informational theory, which postulates that crowd members seek additional information from each other to judge the accuracy or reality of the events they view. An example of behavior at a college basketball game illustrates how some of these theoretical perspectives can be applied. The final section of the paper suggests directions and variables in research on crowd behavior at sports events. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Analysis; Audience Response; Crowd Behavior; Spectator Sports
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Austin, TX, April 7-10, 1981).