Consequences for the performance of groups

Researchers: Max Wolf, Jens Krause, David Bierbach, Ralf Kurvers  

Background: It is well-known that animal groups show increased performance (e.g. regarding predator detection) compared to single individuals. However, it is not clear in most cases whether the performance increase is an outcome of larger groups containing high-quality individuals with greater probability (which other group members then copy) or whether it is an outcome of a collective performance based on individual diversity. Evidence for the latter mechanism comes from recent research with humans where homogeneous groups of individually high-performers can be outperformed by more diverse groups of individually low performers. Even more interestingly, it has recently been shown that collective cognition is group-specific and generalizes across different types of related problems.

The goal of this subproject is to investigate the consequences of differences in BT for the performance of groups. Our main hypothesis is as follows. BT differ in their ability to perform different tasks. The ability of groups to perform particular tasks, however, does not only depend on the individual abilities but also on the mix of types present.