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Information Cascade and Honeybees

Honeybees are incredibly social and intelligent insects and their behavior patterns mirror information cascades. Honeybees utilize their intelligence and social behaviors to communicate information to each other to survive by performing the waggle dance. During the waggle dance, a honeybee returning from the hive will move in a figure-eight formation while buzzing and shaking its rear end to indicate where to go to. This waggle dance can cause an information cascade among the other honeybees. For example, when a group of honeybees decides to abandon their old hive, they send out scouts to look for a new suitable environment to build their hive who perform the waggle dance to communicate their information. After seeing the dance, the other honeybees cast their own votes by performing their own waggle dance. Once a certain number of honeybees have agreed to go a certain direction, then the other honeybees instinctively fly towards the other honeybees.


According to material from lecture, this behavior observed in honeybees is considered an information cascade. When the honeybees see the other honeybees from the same hive, they are more inclined to swarm in the direction of the of the other honeybees without seeing the official voting from every honeybee. This behavior pattern is an information cascade. As Dr. Kelly-Stephen said, “A cascade is any sort of hierarchical structure in which different parts behave not just in response to small local events in their immediate surrounding but also in response to larger scale events and changes.”


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