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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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60 Dimensions

Readers on

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235 Mendeley
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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 235 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 6 3%
France 2 <1%
Portugal 2 <1%
Germany 2 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Switzerland 1 <1%
Unknown 219 93%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 61 26%
Student > Bachelor 38 16%
Researcher 37 16%
Student > Master 22 9%
Professor > Associate Professor 17 7%
Other 46 20%
Unknown 14 6%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 111 47%
Psychology 21 9%
Physics and Astronomy 13 6%
Computer Science 12 5%
Neuroscience 11 5%
Other 44 19%
Unknown 23 10%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 59. 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 11 February 2020.
All research outputs
#440,488
of 17,598,731 outputs
Outputs from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#8,774
of 89,501 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#4,191
of 166,745 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#157
of 930 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,598,731 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 89,501 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 31.1. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% 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 166,745 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 930 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.