Collective intelligence in social animals

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Collective intelligence arises when a group of agents acts as a single cognitive unit to solve problems, make decisions, and carry out other complex tasks. Intelligence emerges from local interactions among a large number of individuals, none of whom acts as a leader or central controller. Although especially well-described in the social insects, it is found throughout the natural world, from the complex behavior of bacterial communities to the coordinated motion of fish schools and bird flocks. These biological examples have in turn inspired engineers to develop artificial robot collectives and decentralized computational algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780128132517
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Cognition
  • Collective decision-making
  • Communication
  • Consensus
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Nest site selection
  • Nonlinear systems
  • Positive feedback
  • Quorum sensing
  • Rationality
  • Recruitment
  • Social foraging
  • Social insects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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