Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GROUPCOG (From individual cognition to collective intelligence)
Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2018-03-31
1) Cumulative cultural evolution
I showed, for the first time, that non-human animals can accumulate knowledge over time, a phenomenon called cumulative cultural evolution. These results were published in Nature Communications in 2017.
2) Individual differences in homing behavior
I found that bold (i.e. exploratory) pigeons tend to fly faster than shy ones. When they are released as a flock, bold individuals tend to fly in front and act as leaders. These findings were published in Philosophical Transaction B in 2018.
3) Combining individual opinions
I investigated how pigeons combine their idiosyncratic routes when they fly as a flock. A well-known theory, known as ""many-wrongs"" principle, suggests that birds should aggregate their routes with same weight (i.e. they should take the mean of individual routes) to maximize the performance. However, I found that they do not take the exact mean, and ones who are more royal to their own routes tend to influence the flock route more. I am currently preparing a manuscript for these results.
I also have been developing state-of-art devices in order to obtain new kinds of data. For example, I was able to put a mask on pigeon's head and put a camera on it. A manuscript is currently under review in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.