Yes – people are sheep. The simplest suggestions of movement throws people into sheep mode. The Sheep Effect seems to be more prominent in rush hour, when crowds are at their peak. Here is what I have observed (and I’m sure I’m not the first):
One person looks up to the sky intently and it’s not long before other people, passers-by, begin to look up intently in the sky “what’s she looking at?” they wonder….
Then, when awaiting an elevator in a busy foyer, calmly walk towards an elevator who’s LED display is clearly nowhere near the ground floor and watch how many people follow you without really thinking for themselves that this elevator is not going to be the first one to the lobby.
And then there’s the classic train door movement. Pretend that the train in which you are traveling is going to pull up into a platform on the left hand side of the train (when you know full well that it will arrive on the right hand side) and see how many people line up behind you assuming that you know where the train is going to stop.
And who could go past (pun intended) the old “there’s something on the pavement trick. in a big crowd, simply move around one area of pavement and watch how many people follow in your footsteps and avoid absolutely nothing on the pavement.
It makes you wonder how much we’re under the subtle influence of others.
There you have it – people are sheep.