When conflict breaks out in social groups, individuals make strategic decisions about how to behave based on their understanding of alliances and feuds in the group. But it's been challenging to quantify the underlying trends that dictate how individuals make predictions, given they may only have seen a small number of fights or have limited memory. In a new study, scientists at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison develop a computational approach to determine whether individuals behave predictably. With data from previous fights, the team looked at how much memory individuals in the group would need to make predictions themselves. The analysis proposes a novel estimate of "cognitive burden," or the minimal amount of information an organism needs to remember to make a prediction.
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