New preprint on flocking in complex environments

By | 29. July 2019

Today a new preprint by Parisa Rahmani, Fernando Peruani and Pawel Romanczuk, has been published on arXiv. Using a generic flocking model we investigate the role of limited attention on collective information processing in complex environments. The main result is rather surprising and counters the established knowledge in flocking behavior as well as more generally in network science: Less connected flocks are better at reaching global consensus and achieve higher migration accuracy in complex environments. This effect can be explained by a collective isolation from distracting environmental cues through self-organization. However, the high accuracy comes at the cost of being unresponsive to environmental cues. The collective becomes more responsive than solitary individual to the environment only at high individual attention capacity, where collective accuracy and global consensus break down. Thus, we observe a fundamental trade-off in collective information processing, which is potentially of relevance to other systems beyond animal collective behavior. Big thanks to Parisa for her hard work on this project!

P. Rahmani, F. Peruani, P. Romanczuk, “Flocking in Complex Environments – Attention Trade-offs in Collective Information Processing”, preprint, arXiv:1907.11691