Within seconds, as you can imagine, it was chaos and people were panicking and running to try and get out the door. We were getting swept with the people crushing to get out and I was terrified my daughter would get crushed.

Survivor of the 2017 Manchester Arena Suicide Bombing

What is Escapismo about?

Natural disasters -- earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, firestorms -- have accompanied humans for millennia. Anthropogenic hazards -- terrorist attacks, wars, collapsing buildings -- add to this list of calamities we experience.

Disasters and hazards differ in many dimensions but share one common feature: we, humans, fear them and when they occur, our natural response is to escape. Run away to save our lives is the fundamental paradigm for our survival!

While the mathematical models of escaping are capable to identify in a beautiful way what the shortest (that is, optimal) escaping path is, these models do not necessarily depict how the actual people behave.

When humans turn on the survival mode and flight for their lives, in the process, various emotions, cognitive biases, and limitations kick in clouding the judgment and steering our behavior towards irrationality. There is a lot we need to understand about humans and their escaping behavior., or

  • What are the escaping paths that people choose?

  • How irrational their behavior is?

  • What mathematical model is the best at describing escaping behavior of real humans?

  • Why do people deviate from the optimal escaping path?

Answering these questions is not just a matter of scientific curiosity; there is an important practical component to the project. Imagine that you are designing a new restaurant. The owners instructed you to put 10 tables, 5 decorative pieces, and a bar.

In your design, you should take into account the possibility of something bad happening forcing guests to escape. With this in mind, you want to place the required objects -- which become obstacles when restaurant patrons try to run away -- in a way that makes the escape as fast as possible.

But how to do it? Unless you already have a human escaping model in hand, you are unlikely to design the restaurant in the safest possible way. With data from Escapismo, we shall be able to provide such a model. Designing a restaurant, or an office building, mall, plaza, or any other venue attended by public, that takes into account the actual human behavior could potentially save lives.

What data Escapismo collects

We collect the following data.

  • Your profile that you voluntarily create.

  • For each maze, time you spent on analyzing and escaping.

  • For each maze, whether or not you managed to escape.

  • For each maze, your escaping path.

  • For each BrainQuest, your answers.

Who we are

We are a team of three scientists from combining expertise in mathematics, economics, behavioral economics, and data science.

Diogo Gomes


Saudi Arabia

Konrad Grabiszewski

HEC Paris, campus Doha


Alex Horenstein

University of Miami