Department of Collective Behavior

Our research focuses on revealing the principles that underlie collective animal behavior. Understanding how social influence shape biological processes is a central challenge, essential for achieving progress in a variety of fields ranging from the organization and evolution of coordinated collective action among cells, or animals, to the dynamics of information exchange in human societies. By developing an integrated experimental and theoretical research program we aim to explore functional properties of groups in a context that can reveal how, and why, social behavior has evolved.

A fundamental problem in a wide range of disciplines is understanding how functional complexity at a macroscopic scale results from the actions and interactions among the individual components. We use a wide range of animal systems to address this fundamental question.

Our research brings us to the interface of a variety of fields, from physics, to computer science, to politics, to psychology. Many of these interdisciplinary collaborations are fostered in the Center for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz, a DFG cluster of excellence which Iain Couzin co-directs.

Research - The Collective Behavior Labs

Latest news

When animal magnetism meets fatal attraction more

Iain Couzin, Director of MPI-AB, has been included in the 2021 list of the “Global Highly Cited Researchers” for the fourth time in a row. more

Fish are his passion. Alex Jordan wants to know why they do what they do. An interview with the behavioural biologist more

Location: Konstanz, Germany, with Iain Couzin
Duration: Postdocs up to 5 years, PhDs up to 4 years, fully funded, available immediately.
We seek motivated postdoctoral/PhD candidates to work in several projects on Using immersive Virtual Reality to understand individual decision-making in insects and/or fish (2 positions: experimental and theory) more

In the Media

Devastating swarms of locusts are devouring everything in their path from Africa to India. Scientists and citizens are waging a massive war with cutting edge technology to stop the infestation from becoming a deadly plague. Picture copyright: FAO /Haji Dirir more
Treffen Gruppen bessere Entscheidungen? | Schwarmintelligenz | Wissen Was mit Doktor Whatson more
Iain Couzin has created a playground for biologists. Cameras follow groups of fish, grasshoppers balance on a ball in a virtual reality container and birds fly around with small backpacks, with which all their conversations are overheard. Film by tv NTR more
Reporter Natalie Parletta from Cosmos covers a study by MPI-AB scientists that uses 3D printing technology to dissect the complex choices of animals. more
The Guardian spotlights study by Alex Jordan showing that some fish can recognize themselves in the mirror. more

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