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In Royal Society open science

It is usually assumed that information cascades are most likely to occur when an early but incorrect opinion spreads through the group. Here, we analyse models of confidence-sharing in groups and reveal the opposite result: simple but plausible models of naive-Bayesian decision-making exhibit information cascades when group decisions are synchronous; however, when group decisions are asynchronous, the early decisions reached by Bayesian decision-makers tend to be correct and dominate the group consensus dynamics. Thus early decisions actually rescue the group from making errors, rather than contribute to it. We explore the likely realism of our assumed decision-making rule with reference to the evolution of mechanisms for aggregating social information, and known psychological and neuroscientific mechanisms.

Reina Andreagiovanni, Bose Thomas, Srivastava Vaibhav, Marshall James A R


Bayesian brain, collective decision-making, emergent leaders, information cascades