Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Bugle, The Dog & Mr. Pavlov

The IPL is on. Which means that there is something interesting to watch on TV every evening for the next 6 weeks. However this post is not about the cricket. (All cricket related posts are on the crickiblog).
Everyone who has watched even part of matches would have made this observation. Every now and then comes an irritating sound and the crowd goes wild. Its referred to as the Bugle and the in-stadium DJ plays its whenever he feels like. But the response is always the same. A loud cheer from the crowd. And this seems to be an universal phenomenon. It happened in South Africa last year, and its happening in India also.
Is it part of natural human instinct to cheer when you hear the bugle. Or has it become a case of "Classical Conditioning experiment", like Pavlov's Dog (dog started salivating on hearing a bell ring it associated it with food) with  the crowd in the stadium cheering when the DJ pushes the bugle button?
My theory is this. The Bugle seems to have originated in the South African domestic Pro20 games. The Bugle would be played whenever the crowd had a cause to celebrate and the crowd would cheer. In IPL2 the crowds were mostly neutral to the teams playing. So they would cheer whenever the bugle got played. And television coverage brought this to Indian audiences. The bugle came to India during the Champions League. The crowd reaction stayed the same. Now regardless of the match situation the crowd cheers on hearing the bugle.

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