Future research avenues to facilitate social connectedness and safe collective behavior at organized crowd events
During the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of crowd events must facilitate physical distancing in environments where attendees previously enjoyed being close with ingroup members, encourage accurate perception of health risks and close adherence to safety guidance, and stop expected normative behaviors that may now be unsafe. Research from crowd psychology demonstrates how group processes are integral to each of these issues. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has created an extreme case environment in which to evaluate the collective findings from previous research and identify future research directions. This paper outlines how organizers of crowd events and researchers can work together to further develop our understanding of social connectedness in crowds, reasons for risk-taking behavior, and level of engagement in new collective behaviors. By working together to address these issues, practitioners and researchers can develop our understanding of crowd processes and improve safety at future crowd events.