Journal Article Nature of collective decision-making by simple yes/no decision units Eisuke Hasegawa

Hasegawa, Eisuke  ,  Mizumoto, Nobuaki  ,  Kobayashi, Kazuya  ,  Dobata, Shigeto  ,  Yoshimura, Jin  ,  Watanabe, Saori  ,  Murakami, Yuuka  ,  Matsuura, Kenji

7p.14436 , 2017-10-31 , Nature Publishing Group
The study of collective decision-making spans various fields such as brain and behavioural sciences, economics, management sciences, and artificial intelligence. Despite these interdisciplinary applications, little is known regarding how a group of simple 'yes/no' units, such as neurons in the brain, can select the best option among multiple options. One prerequisite for achieving such correct choices by the brain is correct evaluation of relative option quality, which enables a collective decision maker to efficiently choose the best option. Here, we applied a sensory discrimination mechanism using yes/no units with differential thresholds to a model for making a collective choice among multiple options. The performance corresponding to the correct choice was shown to be affected by various parameters. High performance can be achieved by tuning the threshold distribution with the options' quality distribution. The number of yes/no units allocated to each option and its variability profoundly affects performance. When this variability is large, a quorum decision becomes superior to a majority decision under some conditions. The general features of this collective decision-making by a group of simple yes/no units revealed in this study suggest that this mechanism may be useful in applications across various fields.

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