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How Swarms Build Cognitive Maps


  • Dante R. Chialvo
  • Mark M. Millonas


Swarms of social insects construct trails and networks of regular traffic via a process of pheromone laying and following. These patters constitute what is known in brain science as a cognitive map. The main difference lies in the fact that the insects write their spatial memories in the environment, while the mammalian cognitive map lies inside the brain. This analogy can be more than a poetic image, and can be further justified by a direct comparison with the neural processes associated with the construction of cognitive maps in the hippocampus. We investigate via analysis and numerical simulation the formation of trails and networks in a collection of insect-like agents. The agents interact in simple ways which are determined by experiments with real ants.

Suggested Citation

  • Dante R. Chialvo & Mark M. Millonas, 1995. "How Swarms Build Cognitive Maps," Working Papers 95-03-033, Santa Fe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:95-03-033

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