Sunday, 2 March 2008

Crowd Behaviour, continued

Following the topic of the previous post: fortunately, the search through references has been possible, and thus I have been lucky enough to read four of the key papers related to the field under discussion.

It seems that indeed, animals and humans alike may be led by relatively small groups of informed individuals, and that in most cases such non-democratic methods do have an advantage (for example in choosing when/where to feed, or in choice of the new location for a bee swarm). Whether the selective advantages of such a method of being led by small `informed' minority are applicable to human societies is an interesting question, both from scientific and from political point of view.

The paper mentioned in the previous post, Consensus decision making in human crowds, by Dyer at. al. depicts a very interesting experiment, where conditions reduce humans to `animal' status, by careful choice of setting where verbal and sign communications are prohibited. Despite the limitations, strong correlations were observed.

For those interested in following the trail deeper, I suggest the following papers:

Evolutionary Origins of Leadership and Followership, by Van Vugt

Consensus decision making in animals, by Conradt and Roper
Group decision-making in animals by Conradt and Roper


Effective leadership and decision-making in animal groups on the move by Couzin et. al.

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