Collective decision-making appears more egalitarian in populations where group fission costs are higher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Collective decision-making is predicted to be more egalitarian in conditions where the costs of group fission are higher. Here, we ask whether Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) living in high or low predation environments, and thereby facing differential group fission costs, make collective decisions in line with this prediction. Using a classic decision-making scenario, we found that fish from high predation environments switched their positions within groups more frequently than fish from low predation environments. Because the relative positions individuals adopt in moving groups can influence their contribution towards group decisions, increased positional switching appears to support the prediction of more evenly distributed decision-making in populations where group fission costs are higher. In an agent-based model, we further identified that more frequent, asynchronous updating of individuals' positions could explain increased positional switching, as was observed in fish from high predation environments. Our results are consistent with theoretical predictions about the structure of collective decision-making and the adaptability of social decision-rules in the face of different environmental contexts.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Bristol
  • University of the West Indies
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology

Keywords

  • consensus, coordination, information, Poecilia reticulata
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalBiology letters
Volume15
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes