Strange psychological exercise in my Strategic Management class on Thursday. About two-thirds of the way through the lecture, a shrill, piercing sound rung out through the theatre, and the "Evacuate Now" light flashed. Rather than rushing quickly to the door, us lemming students sat waiting for guidance from our lecturer. For several agonising minutes, the lecturer urged us to remain seated, suggesting that the alarm would pass. Finally, after three passive minutes as the fire raged/anthrax spread/criminal crazed, the lecturer decided that we really should leave, and that he'd abandon the rest of the lecture. Still at a rather leisurely pace, we all packed our bags and muttered our way to the door.
This time around, it turned out to be a false alarm, and there was no harm done. But at the time, who was to know. Are we all so innately trusting of our lecturer that we would place our lives in his hands? Or are we so painfully conformist that we didn't want to break away from the group and head for the door? Is the desire to be fashionably laid-back and reserved so pervasive that in the case of an emergency, we don't want to be seen to be too keen to get to the door? Strange.