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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Research into London bomb stories
London Underground 3D computer programme (from University of Nottingham)
Researchers were exhibiting a Tube evacuation simulation on 7 July
The experiences of people involved in the London bomb attacks are being researched by a team from three universities in the UK.

Researchers from Sussex, Nottingham and St Andrews have been investigating how people respond to emergency alerts.

On the day of the attacks they were exhibiting a virtual reality simulation of a London Underground evacuation.

Scientists said reports of orderly evacuations supported previous findings that mass panic is rare.

To add to their continuing research, a website has been set up for people to record their experiences of the London attacks, which has so far received around 10 responses.

Emergency training

The team are looking for full accounts of what happened, what feelings and emotions people had and what they noticed about the actions of others around them.

Dr Chris Cocking, a psychologist at the University of Sussex, said: "We also want to help celebrate the human spirit in the face of adversity because the attacks showed the good side of human nature, people being selfless and heroic."

The work on public behaviour during disaster situations, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, ultimately aims to develop a simulation programme for use in emergency services training.

London Underground 3D computer programme (from University of Nottingham)
The number of people on the 3D programme can be varied

The team displayed their underground station evacuation simulator during the four-day Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London, ending on 7 July.

Dr Cocking was himself part of an evacuation at Waterloo station and had to walk across central London to reach the exhibition.

"It was surreal and a cruel twist of fate," he said.

"But the simulation became secondary and our thoughts were mainly focused on ways of helping if needed."

The application uses a three-dimensional computer simulation to study crowd evacuation theories.

Dr Damian Schofield, from the University of Nottingham, previously said: "The addition of further factors in the future could improve the system and allow the psychologists a better insight into crowd dynamics."

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