Task dynamics define the contextual emergence of human corralling behaviors

Patrick Nalepka*, Paula L. Silva, Rachel W. Kallen, Kevin Shockley, Anthony Chemero, Elliot Saltzman, Michael J. Richardson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    29 Downloads (Pure)


    Social animals have the remarkable ability to organize into collectives to achieve goals unobtainable to individual members. Equally striking is the observation that despite differences in perceptual-motor capabilities, different animals often exhibit qualitatively similar collective states of organization and coordination. Such qualitative similarities can be seen in corralling behaviors involving the encirclement of prey that are observed, for example, during collaborative hunting amongst several apex predator species living in disparate environments. Similar encirclement behaviors are also displayed by human participants in a collaborative problem-solving task involving the herding and containment of evasive artificial agents. Inspired by the functional similarities in this behavior across humans and nonhuman systems, this paper investigated whether the containment strategies displayed by humans emerge as a function of the task's underlying dynamics, which shape patterns of goal-directed corralling more generally. This hypothesis was tested by comparing the strategies naïve human dyads adopt during the containment of a set of evasive artificial agents across two disparate task contexts. Despite the different movement types (manual manipulation or locomotion) required in the different task contexts, the behaviors that humans display can be predicted as emergent properties of the same underlying task-dynamic model.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0260046
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Number of pages21
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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