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Ant colonies outperform individuals when a sensory discrimination task is difficult but not when it is easy

Overview of attention for article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, July 2013
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (83rd percentile)

Citations

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48 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
204 Mendeley
Title
Ant colonies outperform individuals when a sensory discrimination task is difficult but not when it is easy
Published in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, July 2013
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1304917110
Pubmed ID
Authors

Takao Sasaki, Boris Granovskiy, Richard P. Mann, David J. T. Sumpter, Stephen C. Pratt

Abstract

"Collective intelligence" and "wisdom of crowds" refer to situations in which groups achieve more accurate perception and better decisions than solitary agents. Whether groups outperform individuals should depend on the kind of task and its difficulty, but the nature of this relationship remains unknown. Here we show that colonies of Temnothorax ants outperform individuals for a difficult perception task but that individuals do better than groups when the task is easy. Subjects were required to choose the better of two nest sites as the quality difference was varied. For small differences, colonies were more likely than isolated ants to choose the better site, but this relationship was reversed for large differences. We explain these results using a mathematical model, which shows that positive feedback between group members effectively integrates information and sharpens the discrimination of fine differences. When the task is easier the same positive feedback can lock the colony into a suboptimal choice. These results suggest the conditions under which crowds do or do not become wise.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 38 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 204 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 6 3%
France 3 1%
Germany 3 1%
Portugal 2 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Switzerland 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Other 0 0%
Unknown 185 91%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 60 29%
Researcher 31 15%
Student > Bachelor 22 11%
Student > Master 21 10%
Professor > Associate Professor 18 9%
Other 52 25%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 99 49%
Unspecified 19 9%
Psychology 18 9%
Computer Science 13 6%
Physics and Astronomy 11 5%
Other 44 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 61. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 18 October 2018.
All research outputs
#278,341
of 13,363,012 outputs
Outputs from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#6,175
of 79,995 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#3,548
of 155,176 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#149
of 908 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,363,012 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 79,995 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 23.8. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 155,176 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 908 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its contemporaries.