I think that certain aspects of ant colony behavior seem almost like economic decision-making in behavior. There are also links between ant colony optimization and features of the brain like selective attention. I was just wondering if any research group has taken up the problems of cognition from the perspectives of economics and/or ant colonies.

It may seem to be mostly analogy on the surface, but the interface of the three seems like a fruitful area to look for new ideas.

  • $\begingroup$ Agreed! A very interesting prospect. Welcome to cogsci.SE. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2014 at 7:41

1 Answer 1


Partial answer:

Douglas Hofstadter has written quite a lot about this from a more philosophical approach. His style isn't for everyone, I think it's introduced well in this chapter ('Ant Fugue').

For more applied work from the same, you might look at Mitchell and Hofstadter's CopyCat model of analogies (described briefly here, as well as on wikipedia).

All this aside, I don't know of any empirical work along the same lines, but I wouldn't rule it out.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the paper. I think Mitchell is a good place to start. I don't know what to make of Hofstadter's chapter as yet, I'll have to see what I can glean from it. $\endgroup$
    – Joebevo
    Feb 19, 2014 at 2:42

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