It seems that almost every live performance I attend ends with a standing ovation. My British friends, with a tinge of cultural imperialism, are quick to point out that this is a uniquely American phenomenon (another hypothesis to refute). I propose to mount video cameras in theatres and concert halls over the course of a year, and capture on video (for slow-motion time-lapse analysis) exactly what happens starting from the moment the program ends. A cross-disciplinary, stratified sampling approach would allow for comparisons across opera, musical theatre, dance and classical music audiences in the US and UK. This would allow for careful analysis of who stands up first (including their precise seat number), and then follow the patterns of who rises next, and next, and so forth. Is it random, or do they fall like dominos? Do balcony people, who paid less, stand up at the same rate as big-spending main floor people? Can one discern patterns of social influence (i.e., those who stand up because the people around them have already stood up)? Is the “snowball effect” (i.e., when audiences rise in a cascading pattern from front to back) a spontaneous outpouring of admiration or a collective act of frustration over obstructed views? How many patrons remain seated, against all odds, in what surely must be one of the bravest acts of defiance known to man? Follow-up interviews with both standers and non-standers would shed light on whether the standers are applauding the artists or actually applauding themselves for spending so much money on tickets. At the bottom of the barrel is a somewhat dark hypothesis that more and more people can’t tell the difference between a good performance and a great performance, and therefore choose to stand regardless so as not to appear uncultured. We should all know better than to ask questions we really don’t want the answers to. Then again, the “urge to know” can be overpowering.