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Hold the Applause Options
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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Hold the Applause

A thunderous round of applause following a performance might actually say little about its quality. Clapping, according to a recent study, is a social contagion that can be driven by the actions of just a few members of an audience. Video footage of groups of undergraduates watching an academic presentation reveals that the sound of just one or two people clapping is enough to prompt a ripple of applause throughout a crowd. Similarly, the power to stop a round of applause lies in the hands of just a couple of individuals. More...
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 6:05:17 AM
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This study does not ring completely true. (Ahem)

The study's results may hold in the main, but as commenters point out, not without significant exceptions. In the belief that crowds do applaud like sheep (try to imagine it,) producers of performances sometimes hire professional clappers:

claque (klk)
1. A group of persons hired to applaud at a performance.
2. A group of fawning admirers.

[French, from claquer, to clap, of imitative origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Claquing and claqueurs sometimes called "shills" or "embedded cheerleaders" are discussed here:

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 5:58:28 PM

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I depend on my taste, and liking / disliking, when it comes to judge the performance. I don't follow the crowd either by clapping or by not applauding, only because the neighbouring people decided to react in one or another way.

Anyway, I hear that one can hire 'professional services' in many fields:

- to applaud at the performance,
- to boo in order to express disapproval through whistling,
- to throw eggs, fruits or veggies, which are no loner suitable for consumption at other people as another form of expressing dislike, condemnation or another stronger forms of criticism,
- to cry at funerals,
- to make one laugh (stage comedians, clowns etc.)

It's not that simple to classify politicians, though.

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