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Group Consequences of Individual Strategies « Creativity & Innovation

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Just as ants interact to form elaborate colonies and neurons interact to create structured thought, groups of people interact to create emergent organizations that the individuals may not understand or even perceive. To study the emergence of group behavior patterns, we have developed an internet-based experimental platform (for examples, see http://groups.psych.indiana.edu/ ) that allows groups of 2-200 people to interact with each other in real time on networked computers. Using these technologies, I will describe experiments on how innovations are propagated within a group. One series of experiments explores how people attempt to solve simple problems while taking advantage of the developing solutions of other people in their social network. The results suggest that complete information is not always beneficial for a group, and that problem spaces requiring substantial exploration benefit from networks with mostly locally connected individuals.