Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

    We have a manual that explains all the features 

Record number 494743
Title Self-organized flexible leadership promotes collective intelligence in human groups
Author(s) Kurvers, R.H.J.M.; Wolf, Max; Naguib, Marc; Krause, Jens
Source Royal Society Open Science 2 (2015)12. - ISSN 2054-5703
Department(s) Behavioural Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) Collective decision-making - Groups - Information - Leadership - Swarm intelligence

Collective intelligence refers to the ability of groups to outperform individual decision-makers. At present, relatively little is known about the mechanisms promoting collective intelligence in natural systems. We here test a novel mechanism generating collective intelligence: self-organization according to information quality. We tested this mechanism by performing simulated predator detection experiments using human groups. By continuously tracking the personal information of all members prior to collective decisions, we found that individuals adjusted their response time during collective decisions to the accuracy of their personal information. When individuals possessed accurate personal information, they decided quickly during collective decisions providing accurate information to the other group members. By contrast, when individuals had inaccurate personal information, they waited longer, allowing them to use social information before making a decision. Individuals deciding late during collective decisions had an increased probability of changing their decision leading to increased collective accuracy. Our results thus show that groups can self-organize according to the information accuracy of their members, thereby promoting collective intelligence. Interestingly, we find that individuals flexibly acted both as leader and as follower depending on the quality of their personal information at any particular point in time.

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