June 19, 2013 | David

If I see a great performance, will I clap for longer? Today's news claims that performance quality doesn't drive applause length. But I'm sceptical.

A study reports that social pressure and random elements control how long individuals clap after a performance. Researchers watched small student groups who were told to applaud academic presentations. They didn't measure how good the presentations were. So why does the news story make claims about performance quality?

I'll save my applause...

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girl clapping

The study likens the spread of applause to pandemic disease.

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Image: Flickr/visualthinker

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