Context-dependent interaction leads to emergent search behaviour in social aggregates

Torney, Colin, Neufeld, Zoltan and Couzin, Iain D. (2009) Context-dependent interaction leads to emergent search behaviour in social aggregates. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, USA, 106 52: 22055-22060. doi:10.1073/pnas.0907929106

Author Torney, Colin
Neufeld, Zoltan
Couzin, Iain D.
Title Context-dependent interaction leads to emergent search behaviour in social aggregates
Journal name Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, USA   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0027-8424
Publication date 2009-12-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1073/pnas.0907929106
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 106
Issue 52
Start page 22055
End page 22060
Total pages 6
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Language eng
Abstract Locating the source of an advected chemical signal is a common challenge facing many living organisms. When the advecting medium is characterized by either high Reynolds number or high Peclet number, the task becomes highly nontrivial due to the generation of heterogeneous, dynamically changing filamental concentrations that do not decrease monotonically with distance to the source. Defining search strategies that are effective in these environments has important implications for the understanding of animal behavior and for the design of biologically inspired technology. Here we present a strategy that is able to solve this task without the higher intelligence required to assess spatial gradient direction, measure the diffusive properties of the flow field, or perform complex calculations. Instead, our method is based on the collective behavior of autonomous individuals following simple social interaction rules which are modified according to the local conditions they are experiencing. Through these context-dependent interactions, the group is able to locate the source of a chemical signal and in doing so displays an awareness of the environment not present at the individual level. This behavior illustrates an alternative pathway to the evolution of higher cognitive capacity via the emergent, group-level intelligence that can result from local interactions.
Keyword Collective intelligence
Olfactory search
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 08-SPP-201
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mathematics and Physics
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Created: Tue, 31 Jan 2012, 20:45:31 EST by Kay Mackie on behalf of School of Mathematics & Physics