Evidence of Critical Dynamics in Movements of Bees inside a Hive

Ivan Shpurov and Tom Froese

Entropy 2022, 24(12), 1840

Social insects such as honey bees exhibit complex behavioral patterns, and their distributed behavioral coordination enables decision-making at the colony level. It has, therefore, been proposed that a high-level description of their collective behavior might share commonalities with the dynamics of neural processes in brains. Here, we investigated this proposal by focusing on the possibility that brains are poised at the edge of a critical phase transition and that such a state is enabling increased computational power and adaptability. We applied mathematical tools developed in computational neuroscience to a dataset of bee movement trajectories that were recorded within the hive during the course of many days. We found that certain characteristics of the activity of the bee hive system are consistent with the Ising model when it operates at a critical temperature, and that the system’s behavioral dynamics share features with the human brain in the resting state.

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