Here is yet another recent EMT or HEC book that I chanced upon.
A new paper by Giuggioli et al. in PNAS September 30, 2013
Collective animal behavior studies have led the way in developing models that account for a large number of individuals, but mostly have considered situations in which alignment and attraction play a key role, such as in schooling and flocking. By quantifying how animals react to one another’s presence, when interaction is via conspecific avoidance rather than alignment or attraction, we present a mechanistic insight that enables us to link individual behavior and space use patterns. As animals respond to both current and past positions of their neighbors, the assumption that the relative location of individuals is statistically and history independent is not tenable, underscoring the limitations of traditional space use studies. We move beyond that assumption by constructing a framework to analyze spatial segregation of mobile animals when neighbor proximity may elicit a retreat, and by linking conspecific encounter rate to history-dependent avoidance behavior. Our approach rests on the knowledge that animals communicate by modifying the environment in which they live, providing a method to analyze social cohesion as stigmergy, a form of mediated animal–animal interaction. By considering a population of animals that mark the terrain as they move, we predict how the spatiotemporal patterns that emerge depend on the degree of stigmergy of the interaction processes. We find in particular that nonlocal decision rules may generate a nonmonotonic dependence of the animal encounter rate as a function of the tendency to retreat from locations recently visited by other conspecifics, which has fundamental implications for epidemic disease spread and animal sociality.
The delayed response between mark deposition, the action of an individual, and conspecific retreat, the reaction of another conspecific, is a basic ingredient of stigmergy (10, 11), a mediated interaction mechanism whereby the changes produced endogenously in the environment by the marks of one individual elicit a response in the neighbors, which in turn respond, affecting their nearest neighbors. This cascade of events creates a feedback mechanism for the entire population, which self-organizes into a dynamic spatiotemporal pattern.
The shrinking and growth of Si are controlled, respectively, by the aging of the marks and the movement of the animals. The transience of the deposited cues tends to reduce the size of a marked area, because inactive marks are ignored by conspecifics. An aging mark at a given location reduces the propensity of other conspecifics to retreat from that location, which in turn increases the pressure onto individual i to move further inside its own marked area, reducing even further the spatial extent of Si. Because a decrease in the size of Si further reduces its spatial extent, the decay of the marks acts as a positive feedback. The other positive feedback is the movement of the animals, which helps the growth of Si. As animals deposit marks by exploring regions beyond their inner-core areas, they increase the extent of Si and pressure neighbors into moving away to avoid confrontation. This in turn allows them to explore even larger areas, thus further increasing the size of their marked areas. Positive feedback mechanisms act to reinforce a given process and are the key to explaining various forms of aggregation and pattern formation (see, e.g., ref. 12 for the application of reinforced random walks to represent some types of positive feedback). On the other hand, the negative feedback acts in the opposite direction of the variation of Si whether it is a decrease or increase in its spatial extent. As marked areas get smaller, animals may traverse them quicker and thus slow their shrinking. Similarly, as marked areas get bigger, animals take longer to move across them, preventing individuals from re-marking aging marks. This results in a reduction of the growth rate of Si.
We choose to interpret the space use of marking animals as a stigmergic interaction for three reasons. The first is that animal marking is a widespread behavior in the animal kingdom, and although each species has evolved specialized means of communication by depositing cues on the terrain, it serves the general function of broadcasting an animal’s presence. Marks contain information about identity and relative dominance (13), with many vertebrates (14) and eusocial insects (15) making use of chemical signals but also with examples in which visual marks are used, such as feathers and feces by birds. Stigmergy represents a well-developed concept that would help in studying animal space use from a general theoretical perspective, independent of the types of signals present in the marks that get deposited or the sensory modalities required for the detection of those signals. The second reason is that stigmergy makes interactive processes history dependent, which captures the fact—often neglected in quantitative analyses of animal space use—that individuals do not respond simply to the current position of other conspecifics, but also to where they have been in the recent past. A mark, when detected, represents a record of an individual’s past activity in a specific location to which other conspecifics eventually respond. The third reason is that stigmergic stimulus–response association relies upon modification of the environment. As environmental heterogeneity may also affect how individuals move in space, our approach yields a method to quantify another form of spatial heterogeneity, the one generated endogenously from animal interactions. It thus may be possible to extend our current framework to provide a common currency to interpret animal space use as a function of the most important endogenous and exogenous features of the ecosystem, respectively, conspecific avoidance and environmental covariates. Promising approaches in that respect already are available and may help link population spatial distribution to animal spatial memory and landscape persistence (16), as well as to prey distribution and terrain steepness (17, 18).
In this framework of socially interacting animals, we are interested in determining how the individual movement response to the presence of conspecifics shapes the degree of segregation in the population. A useful tool to characterize the emerging spatiotemporal pattern of the population is the encounter rate of mobile animals, an instrument of broad ecological applicability (19). Most encounter estimates have relied upon basic animal movement models, in which displacement is ballistic and individuals are completely independent, which amounts to considering animals as “ideal gas” particles. This approach has been taken as a null model to estimate the frequency of meeting or associations among mobile animals (20) and has been used recently to estimate, with the help of allometric considerations in a spatially implicit context, how home range size scales with body mass (21). Here, to capture the key biological features of the movement and interaction processes that underlie animal spacing, we consider a spatially explicit scenario to determine how individual behavior affects animal space use. The focus of our analysis is the quantification of the average encounter rate, home range size, and degree of exclusivity as a function of the degree of stigmergy.
Fig. 1. Schematic representation of stigmergy in marking animals. When the animal i detects the presence of active foreign marks, it responds by retreating from the locations of the foreign marks (Ri). At the same time, the animal i itself deposits marks over the terrain, whose active set constitutes the stimulus Si that another member j of the population detects, inducing the response Rj. In turn, animal j deposits its own marks (Sj), whose locations affect animal i again or individual k, which will react and itself produce a stimulus. The number of individuals involved in this feedback loop may be as a large as the entire population or as small as just individuals i and j, depending on the locations the animals visit after their response. The dashed lines around Rk and Sk represent the fact that the number of steps necessary to affect individual i may vary because of the random nature of the movement process and, thus, of the probability of animal i encountering the stimulus (Sj).
If you would like to be among the first to learn about the exciting future of the Canadian Motion Picture Distribution Industry and how it will positively benefit the National Film Production Economy . . . You are cordially invited to attend the official mediAm launch presentation to be held at the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation at Capilano University on September 24, 2013 between 7:00 & 9:00 PM. For more details about the event and some industry background discussion, see the mediAm Facebook page. This initiative is a practical instantiation of open systems and network theory as well as distributed knowledge and last but by no means least, in toto embodies the virtues of liberality I’ve dedicated my life to.
This from Wired.
During the 130 million years or so that ants have been around, evolution has tuned ant colony algorithms to deal with the variability and constraints set by specific environments.
Ant colonies use dynamic networks of brief interactions to adjust to changing conditions. No individual ant knows what’s going on. Each ant just keeps track of its recent experience meeting other ants, either in one-on-one encounters when ants touch antennae, or when an ant encounters a chemical deposited by another.
Such networks have made possible the phenomenal diversity and abundance of more than 11,000 ant species in every conceivable habitat on Earth. So Anternet, and other ant networks, have a lot to teach us. Ant protocols may suggest ways to build our own information networks…
Speaking of what we can learn from ants, here is a project that I’m co-editing.
Today marks the start of the Cosmos & Taxis conference to launch the associated journal. In attendance will be philosophers, economists, political scientists, sociologists, English profs, complexity theorists, computer scientists, urban geographers and more besides from North America, the Far East, Australasia, and Europe. Please consider submitting a paper, a review or discussion piece to C&T – it is an open access but fully referred journal, and given the nature of the subject matter, is very ecumenical. To keep apprised of developments, see the C&T Facebook page.
Paradigms in which human cognition is conceptualised as “embedded”, “distributed”, or “extended” have arisen in different areas of the cognitive sciences in the past 20 years. These paradigms share the idea that human cognitive processing is sometimes, perhaps even typically, hybrid in character: it spans not only the embodied brain and central nervous system, but also the environment with its social or technological resources ( Clark, 1997, Clark, 2007, Haugeland, 1998, Hollan et al., 2000, Hutchins, 1995, Hutchins, 2006, Kirsh, 1996, Kirsh, 2000, Kirsh, 2006, Norman, 1993, Sutton, in press-a and Wilson, 1994). Such views of cognition share a scepticism about the adequacy of conceptualizing cognition as a process that begins and ends at the skull.
One motivation for adopting a perspective in which cognition is embedded, distributed, or extended begins with reflection on the fact that neural systems do not operate in causal isolation from their environments. Moreover, the nature and level of causal integration across the divide between individual and environment suggests that cognitive systems themselves often involve the coupling of neural, bodily, and external systems in complex webs of continuous reciprocal causation. Through evolution and ontogenetic development we have gained capacities skilfully to hook up with or incorporate external physical and cultural resources that over time have themselves become apt for incorporation into more encompassing, extended cognitive systems. In this way, we form temporarily integrated larger cognitive units that incorporate distinct but complementary inner and outer components, often making “the world smart so that we can be dumb in peace” (Clark, 1997, p. 180). Embodied human minds extend into a vast and uneven world of things—artefacts, technologies, and institutions—which they have collectively constructed and maintained through cultural and individual history.
Often-cited examples of distributed cognition include studies of the instruments and procedures involved in navigation; the physical objects and epistemic tools used in processing orders in a café; the tangle of notes and records with which an academic paper is written; the way skilled bartenders employ unique glasses to remember cocktail orders; or the sketchpads without which abstract artists cannot iteratively re-imagine and create an artwork (Beach, 1988, Clark, 1997, Clark, 2001, Hutchins, 1995, Kirsh, 2006 and van Leeuwen et al., 1999). Developing research programmes in distributed cognition and the extended mind are being tested and applied in disciplines ranging from science studies (Giere, 2002) to cognitive archaeology (Knappett, 2005), computer-supported cooperative work (Halverson, 2002), and Shakespeare studies (Tribble, 2005). Philosophical defenses of the extended mind (Clark and Chalmers, 1998, Rowlands, 1999 and Wilson, 2004) have generated a robust, critical, ongoing debate about the conceptual foundations of the approach (Adams and Aizawa, 2001, Adams and Aizawa, 2007, Clark, in press, Menary, 2006 and Rupert, 2004).
This literature on “the cognitive life of things” (Sutton, 2002a) has fuelled a rather technophilic style in distributed cognition research, occasionally resulting in a preoccupation with technology to the relative neglect of social systems (Clark, 2003 and Clark and Chalmers, 1998). Yet in most complex real-world contexts, distributed cognitive processes involve the skilful interactive simultaneous coordination of things and people. One natural strategy to address the methodological challenges this poses is to seek insight from and integration with research traditions that focus on interpersonal interaction in cognition. This is to draw attention to the social aspects of distributed cognitive processes, to cases in which other people—rather than artefacts—are the more-or-less enduring partners in coupled or transactive distributed cognitive systems.
In this paper we thus aim to show that the distributed cognition framework offers new perspectives on social cognition by applying it to one specific domain: the psychology of memory (see also Tollefsen, 2006). In particular, we argue that independent lines of research on memory—about relations between individual memory and social groups—can be better understood and developed by reconceiving them within this theoretical framework. This focus on the social distribution of cognition is particularly appropriate in thinking about memory, since encoding, storage, and retrieval in real-world contexts all frequently involve the cognitive activities of more than a single individual. This integrative project should have benefits both ways. On the one hand, ideas about distributed cognition can be honed against and tested with the help of sophisticated methods in the social-cognitive psychology of memory; conversely, a range of social memory phenomena that are as yet poorly understood can be approached afresh with theoretically motivated extensions of existing empirical paradigms.
The empirical work on transactive and collaborative remembering that we survey below covers just one of a number of fields to which the framework of distributed and extended cognition can be brought to bear: we could also refer to studies of multi-agent interaction in AI (Koning & Ling, 2003), small-group research in social psychology (Fiske & Goodwin, 1994), or (closer to our concern with memory) the flourishing social-interactionist tradition in the developmental psychology of autobiographical memory. In this last field, for example, 20 years of research has built up a rich picture of early personal memory capacities emerging from the dynamical interaction of distinct components in a social-cultural-cognitive-neural system (Nelson & Fivush, 2004), where the relative influence of multiple concurrent processes can vary across cases (Griffiths and Stotz, 2000, Reese, 2002, Smith and Thelen, 2003 and Sutton, 2002b). Early joint attention to the past between carers and children slowly helps the child achieve a grasp of the causal significance of the order of events, of the availability of distinct perspectives on the same past time, of the uniqueness of actions, and of the affective and social significance of the sharing of memories (Campbell, in press and Hoerl and McCormack, 2005). Independent work on children’s explanatory knowledge, and particularly on their knowledge about the social division of cognitive labour (Lutz and Keil, 2002, Rozenblit and Keil, 2002 and Wilson and Keil, 2000), is also relevant here. While we will not discuss this developmental work further in this paper, the picture of early personal memory as socially distributed clearly dovetails with the view of the cognitive psychology of memory that we offer below.
The conceptual and empirical benefits that flow from this exploration of the social distribution of memory might also include the forging of new multidisciplinary middle-ground for memory studies. While mainstream philosophy of mind has largely neglected social aspects of remembering, studies of “collective memory” and “cultural memory” abound in a burgeoning interdisciplinary field spanning sociology, anthropology, history, political theory, and media theory (Bloch, 1998, Kansteiner, 2002, Klein, 2000, Olick, 1999 and Wertsch, 2002). We think that such social memory studies are potentially relevant for cognitive science and philosophy, and believe that both psychologists and humanities scholars can contribute directly to better understandings of the relations between broader studies of national or cultural memory and the typical individual or small-group focus of cognitive psychology with its empirical methods (Sutton, 2004, Sutton, Suttonin press-b and Wilson, 2005a). Since the phenomena in question in social memory studies do not recognize disciplinary boundaries, it is particularly important to seek both conceptual clarity on key terms and effective shareable methods (see also Hirst & Manier, in press).
In the next section we flesh out the kind of memory phenomena in which we are particularly interested. We specify some of the key social dimensions of cognitive distribution, and some of the basic distinctions between cases that our psychological studies need to respect and investigate. We also briefly show how our approach to distributed remembering can be interpreted within stronger or weaker versions of the general distributed cognition framework. Then in Section 3 we examine studies of social influences on memory in cognitive psychology, identifying the valuable concepts and methods to be extended and embedded in our framework. Here we focus in particular on three related paradigms: transactive memory, collaborative recall, and social contagion. In Section 4 we sketch our own early studies of individual and social memory developed with the framework of distributed cognition in mind.