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Landing together: How flocks arrive at a coherent action in time and space in the presence of perturbations

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  • Ferdinandy, B.
  • Bhattacharya, K.
  • Ábel, D.
  • Vicsek, T.

Abstract

Collective motion is abundant in nature, producing a vast amount of phenomena which have been studied in recent years, including the landing of flocks of birds. We investigate the collective decision making scenario where a flock of birds decides the optimal time of landing in the absence of a global leader. We introduce a simple phenomenological model in the spirit of the statistical mechanics-based self-propelled particles (SPPs) approach to interpret this process. We expect that our model is applicable to a larger class of spatiotemporal decision making situations than just the landing of flocks (which process is used as a paradigmatic case). In the model birds are only influenced by observable variables, like position and velocity. Heterogeneity is introduced in the flock in terms of a depletion time after which a bird feels increasing bias to move towards the ground. Our model demonstrates a possible mechanism by which animals in a large group can arrive at an egalitarian decision about the time of switching from one activity to another in the absence of a leader. In particular, we show the existence of a paradoxical effect where noise enhances the coherence of the landing process.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferdinandy, B. & Bhattacharya, K. & Ábel, D. & Vicsek, T., 2012. "Landing together: How flocks arrive at a coherent action in time and space in the presence of perturbations," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 391(4), pages 1207-1215.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:391:y:2012:i:4:p:1207-1215
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2011.10.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521530927, April.
    2. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521824019, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ferdinandy, B. & Ozogány, K. & Vicsek, T., 2017. "Collective motion of groups of self-propelled particles following interacting leaders," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 479(C), pages 467-477.

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