Scientists Determine the Fishiest Election Ever (LiveScience)
November 14, 2008 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Scientists make fish "vote" by having them choose an artificial fish to follow. Shocker: There's not a lot of individual decision-making.. I always did say some people are as intelligent as fish..
posted by bondgirl53001 (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
i guess that explains the landslides for gorton and van de kamp
posted by pyramid termite at 10:09 AM on November 14, 2008


Summary

Decisions reached through consensus are often more accurate, because they efficiently utilize the diverse information possessed by group members [1], [2] and [3]. A trust in consensus decision making underlies many of our democratic political and judicial institutions [4], as well as the design of web tools such as Google, Wikipedia, and prediction markets [5] and [6]. In theory, consensus for the option favored by the majority of group members will lead to improved decision-making accuracy as group size increases [2] and [4]. Although group-living animals are known to utilize social information [7], [8], [9] and [10], little is known about whether or not decision accuracy increases with group size. In order to reach consensus, group members must be able to integrate the disparate information they possess. Positive feedback, resulting from copying others, can spread information quickly through the group, but it can also result in all individuals making the same, possibly incorrect, choice [8], [11] and [12]. On the other hand, if individuals never copy each other, their decision making remains independent and they fail to benefit from information exchange [4]. Here, we show how small groups of sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) reach consensus when choosing which of two replica fish to follow. As group size increases, the fish make more accurate decisions, becoming better at discriminating subtle phenotypic differences of the replicas. A simple quorum rule proves sufficient to explain our observations, suggesting that animals can make accurate decisions without the need for complicated comparison of the information they possess. Furthermore, although submission to peers can lead to occasional cascades of incorrect decisions, these can be explained as a byproduct of what is usually accurate consensus decision making.

David J.T. Sumpter, Jens Krause, Richard James, Iain D. Couzin, Ashley J.W. Ward, Consensus Decision Making by Fish, Current Biology
In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 13 November 2008.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VRT-4TX7M9G-5/2/44804c1fd7d7d05e9daf0d6cf3f9cf3d)

(CITATION, POPSCI MOTHERFUCKERS, DO YOU SPEAK IT? I am damn fucking tired of having to dig up articles based on scanty info like "was recently published in the Journal of..." or less. In this case, for example, the article is mentioned as published in the 13 November issue of Current Biology. Which doesn't exist. Note, even, that what I gave isn't really a proper citation, but this isn't MY JOB.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:17 AM on November 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


So they voted for the healthy fish? Is that what I read?

Did the sick one have a replacement waiting in the wings that didn't know Africa was a continent? Did they factor that in?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:24 AM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


suggesting that animals can make accurate decisions without the need for complicated comparison of the information they possess.

Mmmm mmmm
posted by CautionToTheWind at 10:28 AM on November 14, 2008


YES WE SPAWN!
YES WE SPAWN!
posted by felix betachat at 10:33 AM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


This explains why we get such crappie leaders.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:38 AM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


I always did say some people are as intelligent as fish..

Would you include yourself in that category?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:44 AM on November 14, 2008


The audacity of tope.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:50 AM on November 14, 2008


Dreams from My Flounder.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:52 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dreams from Mahi Father?
posted by lumensimus at 11:04 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tim, thanks for the link to the actual study.

Digital Object Identifiers are becoming pretty good canonical references for academic papers. For example, this paper has doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.09.064, which seems to be a preferred citation until it appears in print next week.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 11:07 AM on November 14, 2008


I vote for the Astro Zombie pun.
posted by ~ at 11:12 AM on November 14, 2008


My pun takes the other puns to school.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:23 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some of the studies out there are just plain amazing. I've seen a real jawdropper recently, a bird getting his food out of a glass. Incredible.
posted by iSimone at 11:24 AM on November 14, 2008


I always did say some people politicians are as intelligent as fish

Fix'd.
posted by spamguy at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2008


Some of the studies out trout there are just plain amazing.

Fished that for you.
posted by lostburner at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2008


i guess that explains the landslides for gorton

Former senator Slade Gorton of Washington is one of those Gortons. Don't think he ever got a landslide though.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:15 PM on November 14, 2008


Damn you Astro Zombie. You and the other bottom feeders are just trawling for laughs... and I bought it hook, line and sinker.
posted by subaruwrx at 4:26 PM on November 14, 2008


Barracuda Obama!
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:14 PM on November 14, 2008


Earlier this year, and possibly posted to MeFi, was a study of bees choosing a new hive location. Exploratory scouts were sent out, they returned wth their report, more scouts were sent to check out those locations, and eventually a group decision would be made that inevitably chose the best available location for the new colony.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:28 PM on November 15, 2008


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