INSTINCTS: The fact or quality of possessing innate behaviour patterns.

On the contrary, instincts can be performed by individuals who have never learned how to perform them, nor experienced the same set of stimuli before in their lives. 

What my project aims to discover is the fact that instincts are all present in us without us knowing about it. In my project, I was aiming for every reaction is still a reaction which would also point out to instincts in people.


When given the brief, I decided to use social experiments to get results, but thinking of the type of social experiment was hard as it had to be specifically tapped to the basis of instincts. WHY? This was to test if people were to see something out of the ordinary with two items that works together, they would naturally approach it. Whether or not they were to light it or walk away or do other stuff to the candles didn’t matter as their first instincts was already to approach the table to look at it. 




The reactions I got was beyond my expectations and in a way surprising to me that people really do approach the tables and besides lighting the candles and walking away, I received more reactions that were interesting to watch.



I did the experiment on two different days at two different places at two different times and duration with different crowds. This was to ensure that the people experiencing it would not have seen or experienced this experiment before.



Date: 23rd February 2016

Place : ADM Basement 1

Time: 1.30PM-5.30PM

Equipments used:

  • X1 Table
  • X1 lighter
  • X36 coloured candles
  • X50 white candles


Observations: In ADM, many people approached the table to look at the candles but did not light up the candles. Authorities took notice of the experiment and did not hesitate to rule it a fire hazard which meant that their reactions played an important finding in how different people reacted to the same situation. Authorities tend to immediately see it as a hazard whereas students and passerby’s instant reaction was to think of it as a display.





Reflection of Experiment 1: One issue that occurred was that the camera did not have battery and shut off in midst of the experiment which resulted in most of the footage not being recorded. The crowd at ADM basement was also little which resulted in lesser idle people and more people passing by resulting in the experiment to be less noticed. The experiment also got noticed by authorities which resulted in the image of the experiment being sent to the whole school in an email which meant that the experiment could no longer be conducted in school.



Date: 14th March 2016

Place : North Spine Bus Stop

Time: 7.30PM-9.30PM

Equipments used:

  • X1 Table
  • X1 lighter
  • X36 red coloured candles
  • X36 beige coloured candles


Observations: At North Spine’s Bus Stop, there were more idle people waiting for the buses as well as heading towards North Spine. Definitely more people approached the table and what was interesting was that they approached the table despite the camera being in sight (Although many of them thought that the camera was off). There were definitely more reactions that could be observed via the North Spine Bus Stop’s experiment as the crowd were a mixed variety of people as compared to ADM students who is used to having such installations thus reactions generated were different from experiment 1. 



Reflection of Experiment 2: One issue that occurred was that I did not have anything to hide the camera with which resulted in the camera being in sight of the passerby’s. I also had to be close to the camera to ensure the safety of the camera but act like I was waiting for the bus so that people would not suspect that it was an experiment. One thing I changed was the duration of the timing to be 2 hours and constantly check the camera for battery to ensure that footage was recorded.


BONUS: At the end of the experiment, I told my friend to pretend she was a random stranger and blow out the candles completely as well as steal the lighter to see the reaction of the public especially the group of people that recently went to light the candles. I felt like it was a good ending as the reaction they gave was amazing, shocked; confused; dismayed at what she just did to the candles and the lighter.



This experiment has allowed me to analyse that different actions would cause different reactions in people. So long as it was not ‘normal’ or ‘expected’, it would instinctively generate a different type of reaction in people. So for this case, it was expected that people would light the candles and just walk away or play around with the candles, but leave the set up just as it was. The action of blowing away the candles or stealing the lighter was unexpected which led to the crowd generating a different reaction as compared to someone else that just lit up the candle and walk away.

Instincts are natural which may be why people tend to not realise that it is present in all of us. A simple act such as approaching a table or being curious may already count as instincts as well as lighting up a candle without being given instructions. 



Being a social experiment, my final video has to be a compilation of the different reactions I got. Also because it was a video footage of 2 hours and more, I had to make it concise enough to prove my statement as well as show the results. I decided to categorize my footages according to the different observational trends i saw while reviewing all the footages.  


TIME LAPSE: The time lapse footage was recorded using a secret cam that was on the table. The footage was initially planned to be featured in presentation using a portable projector that aims to reflect the increasing number of candles on the table with the physical setup on the table. Due to restrictions as well as logistics issues, I had to use the projector in the critical room which had lesser impact. 


RESULTS VIDEO: A compilation of the different type of reactions I saw in my footages which was ultimately similar in certain ways therefore, I was able to group them and categorize them in specific areas.



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