Watch as people choose to follow each other up the crowded escalator rather than use the empty middle one.
Fascinating and bizarre. We're quite the human-lemmings aren't we?
I've noticed this behaviour on the London underground too, and I made a comic about one of its benefits:http://eruditebaboon.livejournal.com/23951.html
The middle is where you normally see stairs. Lazy people are probably used to that, so they don't even look. Because they are lazy.
I think that the people joining the escalator are using the people already on the escalator as a way of judging which direction it is travelling. At certain angles and distances it can be hard to tell without having some extra input. The fact that the middle one is empty is just down to timing.People also aren't used to looking up at certain distances. Next time you are out in town take a look at what is normally just above your eye-line, I often do this in new settings and it can tell you a lot about a place.
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