Group formation on a small-world: experiment and modelling

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As a step towards studying human-agent collectives, we conduct an online game with human participants cooperating on a network. The game is presented in the context of achieving group formation through local coordination. The players set initially to a small-world network with limited information on the location of other players, coordinate their movements to arrange themselves into groups. To understand the decision-making process, we construct a data-driven model of agents based on probability matching. The model allows us to gather insight into the nature and degree of rationality employed by the human players. By varying the parameters in agent-based simulations, we are able to benchmark the human behaviour. We observe that while the players use the neighbourhood information in limited capacity, the perception of risk is optimal. We also find that for certain parameter ranges, the agents are able to act more efficiently when compared to the human players. This approach would allow us to simulate the collective dynamics in games with agents having varying strategies playing alongside human proxies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number156
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • collective intelligence
  • complex networks
  • coordination game


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