Collective Decision-Making

  • Ashley Ward
  • Mike Webster


Throughout the course of their lives, animals frequently have to differentiate between the various options available to them and to make decisions on a course of action. For those animals that live in groups, any decisions also usually involve the added dimension of the social context – a potential decision-maker usually has to account for the actions of other group members. While an individual may be motivated to take a particular course of action, if it does so unilaterally, it may break away from the rest of the group and thereby forfeit the benefits of social living. For this reason, animals in groups often have to make collective decisions, reconciling their own private information and motivations with those of other group members to arrive at some mutually satisfactory outcome. Typically, contexts for collective decisions include the timing of some group activity, or the travelling direction of the group, and a broad consensus is required among group members if they are to retain group coherence.


Nest Site Social Insect Collective Decision Food Patch Nest Mate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Ward
    • 1
  • Mike Webster
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Life and Environmental SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of BiologyUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

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