Friday, February 04, 2005

Herd Mentality

With just a few simple rules the behavior of herds has been modelled fairly well. To move a herd in a given direction all it takes is a few individuals who have a directional preference and a desire by all to stick together.
"'It demonstrates the power of the little guy,' said Daniel Rubenstein, chair of ecology and evolutionary biology. 'You don't need avowed leaders, you don't need complex signaling.'

In the simulations, a small number of 'informed' individuals was just about as effective in leading a large group as a small one. When the size of the group increased from 10 to 200, the percentage of informed individuals needed to accurately guide the group reduced from approximately 50 percent to less than 5 percent. As a result, the number of informed individuals required to lead a small group was about the same as the number needed to lead a large one, Couzin said"
So if you are one of those folks who feels slightly out of step with the herd, don't give up. You could actually be quite influential.

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