This is an interesting article about, essentially, herd mentality and social mores. Well worth a read.
As the Titanic was sinking and women and children climbed into lifeboats, the cellist and violinist from the ship's band stood and played. They died when the ship went down. Men stood on the deck and smoked cigars. They died, too.
This behavior is puzzling to economists, who like to believe that people tend to act in their own self interest.
“There was no pushing and shoving,” says David Savage, an economist and Queensland University in Australia who has studied testimony from the survivors. It was “very, very orderly behavior.”