Collective motion of humans in mosh and circle pits at heavy metal concerts

Phys Rev Lett. 2013 May 31;110(22):228701. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.228701. Epub 2013 May 29.


Human collective behavior can vary from calm to panicked depending on social context. Using videos publicly available online, we study the highly energized collective motion of attendees at heavy metal concerts. We find these extreme social gatherings generate similarly extreme behaviors: a disordered gaslike state called a mosh pit and an ordered vortexlike state called a circle pit. Both phenomena are reproduced in flocking simulations demonstrating that human collective behavior is consistent with the predictions of simplified models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dangerous Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Movement*
  • Music*
  • Social Behavior*