You Have a Hive MInd

You Have a Hive MInd

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Every decision you make is essentially a committee act. Members chime in, options are weighed, and eventually a single proposal for action is approved by consensus. The committee, of course, is the densely knit society of neurons in your head. And approved by consensus is really just a delicate way of saying that the opposition was silenced.

Our brains seem to work not by generating only correct actions and executing them in serial, but rather by representing many possibilities in parallel, and suppressing all but one. In essence, despite our feeling that we are singular, unified agents, we are more like hive minds unto ourselves, our brains abuzz with multiple, often conflicting plans and interests that must be managed. To scientists, the hive mind is more than just a metaphor. A recent paper in Science, describes a potential deep parallel between how brains and bee swarms come to a decision. With no central planner or decider, both brains and bee hives can resolve their inner differences to commit to single courses of action.

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