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Length of Applause Not Tied To Quality of Presentation

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the hanging-out-the-window-with-a-bottle-full-of-rain dept.

Science 138

sciencehabit writes "The next time you hear extended applause for a performance you didn't think was that great, don't feel like a snob. A new study reveals that audience response has more to do with the people in the seats than those up on stage. Applause, it turns out, is a bit like peer pressure. In a study of college students, individuals were more likely to start clapping if a larger percentage of the audience had already started. If 50% of the audience was clapping, for example, individuals were 10 times more likely to start clapping than if 5% of the audience was clapping. People stop clapping for the same reason. Even more surprising, the applause for a bad presentation could be just as long as applause for a good one. Random interactions in the audience can result in very different lengths of applause regardless of the quality of the talk."

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This just in! (5, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#44058577)

Popularity of performers also not directly proportional to talent.

Re:This just in! (5, Interesting)

Svippy (876087) | about a year ago | (#44058613)

Like the story about the applause no one dared to finish, after Stalin had spoken. First one to stop clapping was sent to Siberia. Good times.

Note: There is a good chance this story is entirely false, but since Snopes won't cover it, I'll go with 'it probably happened'.

Re:This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059199)

The version of this story I saw was that the clapping went on for an interminable time because nobody wanted to be seen as the first to stop. To avoid this situation on subsequent occasions, it was arranged that the NKVD would give a signal for applause to stop.

Re:This just in! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059633)

From http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-548542.html

Here is the quote from Solzhenitsyn: A district Party conference was under way in Moscow Province. It was presided over by a new secretary of the District Party Committee, replacing one recently arrested. At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). The small hall echoed with “stormy applause, rising to an ovation.” For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the “stormy applause, rising to an ovation” continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin. However, who would dare be the first to stop? The secretary of the District Party Committee could have done it. He was standing on the platform, and it was he who had just called for the ovation. But he was a newcomer. He had taken the place of a man who’d been arrested. He was afraid! After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who quit first! And in that obscure, small hall, unknown to the Leader, the applause went on—six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly—but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them? The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter. . . . Then after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.

Re:This just in! (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year ago | (#44059641)

I believe Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote a narrative about that.

Re:This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058635)

*starts to cheer and clap*

Re:This just in! (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about a year ago | (#44060153)

Hey, if you were in Tucson, you'd get a standing ovation just for showing up.

Re:This just in! (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year ago | (#44058657)

And what about the sound of one hand clapping?

Re:This just in! (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#44058675)

It only makes a sound if it is in a forest with no one around

I don't know about Stalin but... (2)

waspleg (316038) | about a year ago | (#44059271)

There is video of Saddam Hussein doing the same thing with a big shit eating grin smoking a cigar to wild applause by visibly terrified military people sitting in theater seating. The ones he's picking out of the crowd are escorted out of the room and executed. Not sure where I saw it, I think it was History Channel, years ago.

Re:I don't know about Stalin but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060031)

Yeah, and I saw the "people" spontaneously pull down his statue as part of a massive crowd as they welcomed US forces as liberators. Isn't television great?

Re:I don't know about Stalin but... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44060123)

To be fair, someone can both be a complete shitbag and targeted by US propaganda.

Re:This just in! (1)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#44059989)

"Error, missing parameter; clapping not defined for one hand."

Re:This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060155)

fapping?

Re:This just in! (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#44061021)

And what about the sound of one hand clapping?

I can do this by bending my wrist up at an angle, holding my arm vertically, and waving vigorously. The fingers slap down on the palm and it's one hand clapping. Of course it's not Zen at all; but it's a way of crushing Zen with practicality and approximation... which might be Zen after all. Who knows? I can only do it with my right hand though.

Re:This just in! (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44058947)

Amen to that! A Rhesus Monkey with a ventriloquist could've replaced Michael Jackson.
But, as far as this silly study goes, if 50% start clapping immediately, it IS a sign of enthusiastic enjoyment, therefore the other half are peered into it, but,the fact that an immediate response was elicited from a near majority is, in fact, a sign of quality of performance. This reeks of the bias of wannabes fulfilling an assignment for a grade, with the delusion that they could "find" some "revealing" characteristic in social science.

          Another professor assigns another bomb to muddy the field of science.....Tenure my ass, fire the prick and let's get a scientist teaching science.

Re: This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059097)

Jealous much?

Re:This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060143)

Amen to that! A Rhesus Monkey with a ventriloquist could've replaced Michael Jackson.

I never did like Michael Jackson't music, any of it, but he was a talented singer. There are a lot of way better examples, singers who couldn't hold a tune if you gave them a bucket or just annoying nasily voices like Bob Dylan, who is a great songwriter but the man is a terrible singer.

Re:This just in! (0)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44059247)

Are you trying to argue that market forces don't produce a meritocracy, commie?!

Perhaps that can be a litmus test: only people who agree Michael Jackson is the best musician in history are true capitalist believers.

Re:This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059475)

Michael Jackson is not the best musician in history, Prince is! Even MJ acknowledged this when he called his son "Prince".

Q.E.D.

Re:This just in! (1)

Vozmozno (985521) | about a year ago | (#44059369)

This is also painfully obvious whenever the president gives his state of the union speech...

The camera pans the crowd and you can clearly point out the people who are just going with it, thinking "Let's just sit down already", but everybody keeps clapping at the tiniest thing for the first 10 minutes or so...

(always seemed like worship to me... even Obama's expression went "...lemme talk now..." a couple of times)

AND THIS EXPLAINS WHY YOUR SA HATES YOU !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058601)

Somehow !! It does !!

Pez anyone ??

Re:AND THIS EXPLAINS WHY YOUR SA HATES YOU !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058913)

You're commenting on the wrong story, dude.

Next door down.

Basic social instinct? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058609)

After all these years of evolution, we are still just ants responding to pheromones or cows prone to rampages.

Re:Basic social instinct? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058987)

Personally, I never clap even if everyone else is doing it. Take that, peer pressure!

Re:Basic social instinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059501)

I go one step further, I _only_ clap when no one is doing it.

Re:Basic social instinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060179)

Sure, it's awkward at funerals.

Wut? (2)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about a year ago | (#44058655)

Are they trying to win the 2013 Ig Nobel prize or something?

Re:Wut? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44059393)

Is it related to clapping along to music at concerts? This needs further study...

http://theoatmeal.com/blog/clapalong [theoatmeal.com]

Many reasons (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058683)

I clap my hands really fast and strong when i want to fart aswell

applause after bad performance... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058689)

just means everybody is sooo happy they get to go home.

Re:applause after bad performance... (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#44059037)

It's perfunctory. In this city, for example, it's very rare for a performance not to get a standing ovation.... I've seen some absolutely terrible performances still get 'em, because apparently, that's what people do around here.

Re:applause after bad performance... (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44059461)

It's perfunctory. In this city, for example, it's very rare for a performance not to get a standing ovation.... I've seen some absolutely terrible performances still get 'em, because apparently, that's what people do around here.

At least we're not the only ones anymore. Do you guys get cupcakes, too?

Re:applause after bad performance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44061067)

You're free to leave the performance, you know. If a band sucks, I don't applaud, I leave.

also whether or not you agree with or like them (2)

Pathoth (2637433) | about a year ago | (#44058699)

even if they don't understand a thing that was said in the presentation. like many attending political rallies...

Re:also whether or not you agree with or like them (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#44058767)

Political rallies... Solzhenitsyn wrote about a rally [mannerofspeaking.org] were people were applauding Stalin, and no one dared to be the first to stop! Of course someone had to be the first; apparently the story had no happy ending for him.

Re: also whether or not you agree with or like the (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#44059939)

I've never heard speakers know what they were saying at a political rally either.

Culture-dependent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058725)

Only in decadent western imperialist countries. Mandatory best applause in Best Korea is directly proportional to awesomeness of Dear Successor, can go on for days until audience are all hospitalised for clapping-related wrist injuries.

Is there nothing else left to study? (2, Insightful)

home-electro.com (1284676) | about a year ago | (#44058729)

I mean, important stuff, like cure for cancer?

They have to study what is obvious to anybody with a bit of a common sense? And how is this non-story ends up on /.?

Re:Is there nothing else left to study? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058849)

You are right. Every study on cancer was shut down while researchers worked on the clapping study. It required the best brains in the cancer research studies to pull this off. Thank you for pointing this out between your sessions of porn watching and video games.

Cause geeks solved the cancer thing already (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059043)

Create checksums at the end of DNA and compare the checksum to known one & destroy the bad ones. Cancer cured right! (You just have to hope the "known one" doesn't get corrupted, cause it will start to destroy everything in you, mwahaha!)

Re:Is there nothing else left to study? (2)

rroman (2627559) | about a year ago | (#44059067)

This might seem trivial, but I think it is not. This actually describes how the crowd mentality works, how predictable it is and I think more interesting things are in the study. This is NOT waste of time.

Re:Is there nothing else left to study? (0)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44060383)

Forget the cure for cancer even. This was someone's not having to take a second job, someone's chance to head home a little early and spend time with their kids, someone's medication to make their mother's life earlier, someone's chance to replace the dangerous badly worn brakes, someones opportunity to move their newborn out of a mold-ridden apartment.

Taxes. Someone earned that money.

Re:Is there nothing else left to study? (2)

ianalis (833346) | about a year ago | (#44060671)

“The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.”
  Henri Poincare

Re:Is there nothing else left to study? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44061273)

I mean, important stuff, like cure for cancer?

They have to study what is obvious to anybody with a bit of a common sense? And how is this non-story ends up on /.?

And, thus shamed by the nerds for their dorky and pointless interest in sociology, the mathematicians, biologists and sociologists took their next grant and not only cured cancer, but perfected a cheap, clean source of energy, put people back on the moon, eliminated poverty and brought world peace. "I only wish someone had mentioned this sooner," said Dr. Mann in an interview with Fox News. "I realize that I had been wasting my life and energy on subjects with no possible payoff in terms of human life or computer graphics performance."

I'm so happy that some scientists (-1, Troll)

etash (1907284) | about a year ago | (#44058763)

spend their resources, intellect and time in such important life saving matters as hand clapping, instead of ridiculous and unimportant researches conducted by others in meaningless fields such as cancer, hiv and other diseases.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058795)

There are already an assload of researchers working on cancer cures and other such medical bullshit. We can't and shouldn't have everyone focused on the same problem. Research doesn't work that way.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (1)

home-electro.com (1284676) | about a year ago | (#44059059)

Fine, as long as research grants spent on problems as opposed to this nonsense.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (4, Interesting)

Andtalath (1074376) | about a year ago | (#44058803)

Not all benefits can be fully quantifiable or tangible.

You never know when weird discoveries can have monumental effects.

Besides, it's not like there's a lack of research about cancer, HIV and other diseases.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (0)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44060317)

Tell me that again when you're lying in bed in agony because the morphine just isn't doing it any more.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#44060715)

Tell me that again when you're lying in bed in agony because the morphine just isn't doing it any more.

And 9 women can gestate a baby in 1 month?

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44058819)

A lot of talks I've seen by scientists and scientific panelists have very brief periods of clapping, sometimes even completely forgotten about in favor of jumping directly to questions. They use their limited time to convey the most information. Compare this with non-scientific presentations which regularly pause and soak up the adoration of the audience. IMO, the shorter the clapping the better the presentation.

A scientist on stage has nothing to prove -- They do that sort of thing in the lab.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44059455)

That has nothing to do with it. Clapping is not expected at a scientific presentation. Because it's not expected, people mostly don't do it.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058879)

You're an idiot. How do you think sociologists would fare at finding a cure for cancer? I guess your next point will be that sociology should be forbidden and everyone should go into medicine.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (0)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44060337)

They may not be very good at finding a cure for cancer but I bet they'd be great at putting the fries in the little cardboard box.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058977)

And I am so happy that you spend your time making such productive comments.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#44059683)

It's not so unimportant if you translate the meaning of this type of research to things like government policies but also the money, stock, bond and other markets.

The performance in the bond and dollar markets for example is definitely less than stellar, but people just can't stop clapping.

Re:I'm so happy that some scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060105)

It's not so unimportant if you translate the meaning of this type of research to things like government policies but also the money, stock, bond and other markets.

The performance in the bond and dollar markets for example is definitely less than stellar, but people just can't stop clapping.

How naive you are. These universities doing research are funded by government. You actually think they'll come out with reports that are unfavorable to the hand that feeds them?

"It turns out"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058793)

Science can be so awkward when it makes statements like this about things that were obvious to most of the world already.

Re:"It turns out"? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44058927)

Science can be so awkward when it makes statements like this about things that were obvious to most of the world already.

To be fair, gravity is obvious but we're still working out the math on that. Just because everyone thinks it's obvious doesn't mean the result actually are; We have to do the test and sometimes at a large scale. For instance: The New Coke. Focus groups said they liked it. It was new, of course it's obviously better.... That wasn't the case when we scaled up the experiment though, eh?

Conversely: You can make anything sound more reasonable and less awkward when talking to a scientist by prefacing the words: "It turns out", "It's been said that", "I've read that", "Common knowledge is", "It's accepted wisdom that", "Results indicate", "Experience proves", "Research shows" -- The last one here is my favorite. That's exactly what things like TFA are: Research Shows.

EG: "I've read that not putting the toilet seat down causes disproportionately high energy expenditure in the long term social context." or "Experience proves not paying back that $50 you owe me increases the chance of spontaneous disappearance of equivalent valued possessions over time." With practice, you too can be comfortable speaking to scientists.

Re:"It turns out"? (1)

home-electro.com (1284676) | about a year ago | (#44059073)

Focus groups said they liked it. It was new, of course it's obviously better.... That wasn't the case when we scaled up the experiment though, eh?

So... What are you saying, this research could be flawed and more study is required? I really would like to get to the bottom of this clapping duration.

Re:"It turns out"? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44059497)

I'd like to see a study in audiences composed mostly parents of the performers are compared to audiences of unrelated adults.

Just this weekend I heard somebody trying to convince radio listeners that knowing when to start and stop clapping was a fine example of the "the wisdom of crowds." I like to see situations where real sociologists put such notions in their pseudoscientific place.

Re:"It turns out"? (0)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44060297)

I'd like to see a study funded by those who care rather than with money extorted from taxes.

Re:"It turns out"? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44059469)

I agree "It turns out" is a lousy way to express a scientific finding. "Scientists demonstrate" is a much better phrase to use.

Story is useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058797)

We should go through the story

You can start people clapping really easily (5, Interesting)

ribuck (943217) | about a year ago | (#44058805)

When I was in my teens, I was watching a circus. Between every act, a cleaner with a broom and a garbage bag would clear any detritus from the ring.

After a few acts, I clapped this guy, just for a laugh. To my surprise, everyone else joined in. From that point on, until the end of the show, the cleaner got rapturous applause every time!

Re:You can start people clapping really easily (5, Funny)

slart42 (694765) | about a year ago | (#44058861)

Similar experience from my teens:

In my school the principal had all 1500 students gathered in the gym to give some sort of boring speech. In between the students would clap, which I found stupid, because I thought he was talking bullshit. So me and two friends decided to make fun of it, and started clapping in odd places. To our surprise it caught on really well, and quickly everyone joined in - probably some because they got the prank, and others out of reflex. In any case, the situation quickly became hilarious with everyone in the audience clapping as soon as the principal would open his mouth to speak - at some point he started screaming "Stop clapping" - which was of course replied to with a big applause.

Re:You can start people clapping really easily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059293)

Once I watched a theatre play with a very abstruse, modern plot.

Anyway, there were quite a few absurdities, and the audience laughed at them, as it clearly believed them to be intended for satirical/comical effect. Even when the main character was executed, it still made sense in light of the absurdity of the piece, although the audience saw this as an unexpected twist in the plot.

After the piece, a friend of mine who played in the piece expressed surprise about the audience: she said they rehearsed the piece as a serious piece and were taken utterly by surprise that it would be interpreted as a satiric humour. But the fact that nobody noticed the dissonance demonstrates during the play shows that a live piece has to be performed in front of the audience - only in the joint interaction it is actually becoming alive.

Re:You can start people clapping really easily (2)

Inda (580031) | about a year ago | (#44059509)

Our two top bosses stood up in front of all 100 of us last month. The news was "We need to save 10 million Euros. No new projects are coming. Guess the rest"

One idiot started clapping at the end, then another, then another. In the end, everyone, except me, was clapping.

Social comformity grinds my gears.

Re:You can start people clapping really easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059703)

Maybe it was a test. Last person clapping gets laid off.

Re:You can start people clapping really easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060421)

I have the exact same story, even down to the approximate number of people in the audience. If it happened about 10 years ago in the south of Sweden, we have a match. Otherwise it is just a common phenomenon with many teenagers in a room :-) .

Re:You can start people clapping really easily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060509)

There was a half-forgoten incident during the military dictatorship in greece, where one of the colonels was giving a big talk to highschool students in a stadium.
They all cept clapping and applauding thus not letting him speak.
It was a wierd moment of resistance but the face of the guy in the video is priceless

Re:You can start people clapping really easily (1)

locofungus (179280) | about a year ago | (#44059479)

Something similar happens at the BBC Proms whenever there's a piano concerto.

The leader of the orchestra plays an A and then the prommers at the front applaud (This is just the done thing, like shouting "Heave" when the lid of the piano is opened - to which the gallery reply "Ho".) Sometimes the leader takes a bow, sometimes they just ignore it.

But sometimes the applause grows to the point where half the hall is clapping (but not the prommers who started it all)

Tim.

Here's a case in point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058829)

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asGvjbfIASA [youtube.com]

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058929)

yes

Another reason to clap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44058967)

There's a reason why I clap even for a bad performance: to reward the work put into it. Even if it's not the best performance ever, some people still put work into it.

The title itself says everything, it's true and wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059027)

The title itself says everything, it's true and will always remain true

MRW I read the article (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44059041)

CLAP.

CLAP.

CLAP.

(clap clap clapclap clap clap clapclapclapclapclapclap)

Re:MRW I read the article (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#44059835)

CLAP.

Article was so bad it gave him the clap.

Not New (1)

Dominare (856385) | about a year ago | (#44059115)

This is something that I think most people already know happens. I mean, I get that verifying it experimentally is necessary before the implications can be considered, but it certainly isn't going to raise many eyebrows, is it?

its not the length (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44059139)

Its how you applaud that matters...

Test message from lal (1)

pratap1234567 (2957867) | about a year ago | (#44059259)

Test comment from lal

Church is a good testbed (5, Interesting)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year ago | (#44059499)

I go to one of the old "mainline" churches. It is a cultural feature there that you are not supposed to applaud performances, as they are (supposedly) done for the glory of God, not self aggrandizement.

However, it occasionally still happens, which makes it a really interesting study. Our choir director was asked about it, and he said it was his observation that it tended to happen much more often when a peice ends suddenly after a very loud part. His theory was that sudden silence feels out of place, so the parishoners feel the need to fill it with something. After a couple more years of watching it myself, I believe he may be onto something.

So I would suspect the frequency and volume of applause probably has a lot more to do with how the preceeding piece ended than with they quality of the performance. As a performer, if you want applause, just make sure your final note/line/whatever is as loud as possible!

Re:Church is a good testbed (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year ago | (#44059551)

As a performer, if you want applause, just make sure your final note/line/whatever is as loud as possible!

...interesting coincidence that my bottom of the page /. quote of the day is:

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"

Re:Church is a good testbed (1)

aleckais (1457189) | about a year ago | (#44059603)

What does it mean to be the only begotten Son of God?

Re:Church is a good testbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060287)

Anecdotally, presentations that end with long, awkward "I guess that's it... Any questions? ... no? okay." phases tend to get very weak applause. So I guess I'm saying I think there's something to the theory you present.

Re:Church is a good testbed (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about a year ago | (#44060541)

This comment is going to be my "takeaway" from this story.

Matthew 25.29 etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059547)

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (The coward is aleckais).

Has anyone else ever noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059561)

...that whenever a performer (usually a comedian) goes on a long breathless tirade, the audience always reacts like its the funniest, most ground-breaking shit ever? It doesn't even have to be funny - someone could just go on stage, rant and yell without break for 15 straight minutes about the migration patterns of Canadian geese, and the audience would go ape-shit. Annoys the hell out of me.

"sciencing" the obvious... (2)

zazzel (98233) | about a year ago | (#44059671)

1. Pay a few guys to start clapping and keep going.
2. Profit!

(Or: guess where the word "claqueur" comes from. This effect has been known for centuries.)

Well, duh. (1)

stinkbomb (238228) | about a year ago | (#44059735)

Just watch any stand-up comedian. Inevitable hooting and applause at any joke that mentions farts or genitalia.

Random interactions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059769)

WARNING! Anecdote ahead:

I actively use this phenomenon to lead a crowd in applause and have known other who do the same.

It can be a very awkward social moment for all involved:

    is it over?
    do I clap now?
    what if I'm the only one?
    did they like it?

As such when I'm at a performance of presentation once it's over and I think it's good, I'll happily clap loudly and with hands visibly raised as signal and encouragement to others. I then, depending how much I like it, count out a number of claps and when I feel I've made my contribution I lower my hands and slowly reduce the volume of my clap (I've large hands and can make quite a boom). People usually follow.

It's something I've done since assemblies at school (I was performing to crowds early so understood the anixety from both sides) and I certainly notice a difference in the crowds response if I don't lead (say I'm at a music event and I'm sipping a beer not ready for the music to stop).

Any way, my two coppers.

Also known as a sidekick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44059877)

Why do you think Ed McMahon sat next to Johnny Carson? It's so the audience would get cues of when you laugh and applaud.

Claps twice.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060115)

.. heads out to the hallway to get free lunch and more swag.

Even newer study just in... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44060261)

Conclusion: "Well, duh..."

when the audience stops clapping ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44060771)

... the performers will start the next piece.

Except in Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44060915)

Have you ever watched State of the Union addresses?!

Why Length of Applause is Not Tied To Quality (1)

Diamonddavej (851495) | about a year ago | (#44061143)

They only looked at the length of applause involving groups of 13 to 20 undergraduate and postgraduate students. This is a special case.

During my time as a postgraduate student I gave many good presentations, but my 1th year presentations were abdominal, I was under prepared and inexperienced, as were many fellow students. People clapped at the end of my terrible talks as long as any other talk as they just wanted to encourage me. It's common for students to suffer a lack of confidence at the early stage of their studies. The audience knows this, especially one composed of fellow students. I can't imagine students singling out a student for a brief slow-hand clap for a poor presentation.

The situation is entirely different at large conferences where speakers and audience members are unrelated. For example, at big conference about meteorites some years ago, the length of applause appeared to be strongly correlated with the quality of a speaker's presentation, one speaker got no applause at all. And there was no kindness given to anxious postgraduate students. I well remember one student's presentation regarding the temperature of formation of Allan Hills 84001. As soon as his talk ended, there was some brief subdued applause, then a scientist immediately leapt up and climbed over 15 rows of seats to the overhead projector. He took the student's slide off the projector and put up his own, then wagged his finger a the student telling him he was wrong and why. The student was nearly in tears. This is completely different from the group of students who are likely to be kind to each other.

Here's a paper that explains why studying "Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies" (i.e. university students) is not good practice...

Henrich, J. Heine, S.J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? (free access). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X0999152X

I clap when a crappy presentation is finally over! (1)

kimgkimg (957949) | about a year ago | (#44061227)

I think it's out of happiness to finally get my life back from the insane limbo of boredom.

What about other factors? (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about a year ago | (#44061237)

Like whistling and screaming "Ya baby, take it all off!"
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