Swarm Intelligence

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 3–18 | Cite as

Swarm Cognition: an interdisciplinary approach to the study of self-organising biological collectives

  • Vito Trianni
  • Elio Tuci
  • Kevin M. Passino
  • James A. R. Marshall


Basic elements of cognition have been identified in the behaviour displayed by animal collectives, ranging from honeybee swarms to human societies. For example, an insect swarm is often considered a “super-organism” that appears to exhibit cognitive behaviour as a result of the interactions among the individual insects and between the insects and the environment. Progress in disciplines such as neurosciences, cognitive psychology, social ethology and swarm intelligence has allowed researchers to recognise and model the distributed basis of cognition and to draw parallels between the behaviour of social insects and brain dynamics. In this paper, we discuss the theoretical premises and the biological basis of Swarm Cognition, a novel approach to the study of cognition as a distributed self-organising phenomenon, and we point to novel fascinating directions for future work.


Swarm Cognition Social ethology Cognitive neurosciences Self-organisation Artificial life 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vito Trianni
    • 1
  • Elio Tuci
    • 2
  • Kevin M. Passino
    • 3
  • James A. R. Marshall
    • 4
  1. 1.IRIDIA-CoDEULBBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceAberystwyth UniversityAberystwythUK
  3. 3.Dept. Electrical and Computer EngineeringOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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