Originally Posted by Gavin
Confidence (or lack of) is the main theme I derive from this experiment.
I would chip in with consciousness, instead of confidence. How conscious can you be to make your own decisions despite the lack of or abundance of social proof around you?
And I'd speculate from your interesting post it might also have something to do with the pack mind. After I read about the Alpha/Beta theory of behavior, a lot of things clicked for me.
It was instrumental in my 2 years of service in the army where I observed such behavior first hand, the alpha males demonstrate alpha behavior and the rest of the pack follows.
It could be that in a situation like that, people look towards the alpha (the most confident person in the room like you state) to lead them, even into behaviors of in-action.
I've heard it said once that in any uncertain situation, the one with the most certainty will lead.