Effects of local communication and spatial position in a collective decision-making model

Conference Date
Lyon, France
Date Published
September 2017
Conference Date: 2017, Vol. 14, Pages 154-161.
(doi: 10.7551/ecal_a_027)
© 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license
Article PDF (897.32 KB)

Large-scale coordination in nature relies on the effective flow of information through a group. Understanding this flow is essential to implementing similar behaviors in artificial groups such as teams of robots, especially if communication is limited to an individual’s closest neighbors as in nature. While observational studies of the spatial position of leaders, or initiators, of a decision in natural systems have been made, there has been a lack of studies specifically investigating the effects of position in more depth. In the work presented here, our simulations predict that centrally located individuals are more successful initiators than those on the periphery when communication is local. However, since there are many examples in natural systems of individuals located on the periphery successfully initiating, we incorporate the concept of temperament traits to modulate the decision-making process and improve initiation success in three different types of group behavior. Simulations predict that the addition of temperament traits do increase the probability of success for individuals on the periphery, although central individuals are still far more successful initiators. These results can be used to develop artificial systems in which tasks are completed by initiations from individuals on the periphery of the group.