Dynamics of decision making in animal group motion

Benjamin Nabet, Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Iain D. Couzin, Simon Asher Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We analyze a continuous-time model of a multi-agent system motivated by simulation studies on dynamics of decision making in animal groups in motion. Each individual moves at constant speed in the plane and adjusts its heading in response to relative headings of others in the population. The population includes two subgroups that are "informed" such that individuals in each subgroup have a preferred direction of motion. The model exhibits fast and slow time scales allowing for a reduction in the dimension of the problem. The stable solutions for the reduced model correspond to compromise by individuals with conflicting preferences. We study the global phase space for the proposed reduced model by computing equilibria and exploring stability and bifurcations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-435
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Nonlinear Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Animal behavior
  • Collective motion
  • Coupled oscillators
  • Decision making
  • Dynamical systems
  • Multi-agent systems


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