Uninformed Individuals Promote Democratic Consensus in Animal Groups

Fascinating – in a large group or collective, a minority (even a handful or, in human populations, perhaps only one) with strong preferences can have more influence than a majority with somewhat weaker preferences. So, those who shout loudest can have an undemocratically large influence, leading to collective decisions not favoured by the majority. However, when you introduce a number of individuals without any particular preference in the first place, balance is restored. This study first proves that with a simple computer model then demonstrates it in an experiment with schooling fish.

Address of the bookmark: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6062/1578.full?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

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