Attraction vs. Alignment as Drivers of Collective Motion

Strömbom, Daniel and Tulevech, Grace (2022) Attraction vs. Alignment as Drivers of Collective Motion. Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, 7. ISSN 2297-4687

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Moving animal groups exhibit a range of fascinating behaviors. The standard explanation for how these groups form and function is that the individual animals interact via attraction, repulsion, and alignment, where alignment is proposed to drive the collective motion. However, it has been shown both experimentally and theoretically that alignment interactions are not required to induce group level alignment. In particular, via the use of self-propelled particle models it has been established that several other mechanisms induce group level alignment (aka polarization) in combination with attraction alone. However, no systematic comparison of these mechanisms among themselves, or with explicit alignment, has been presented and it remains unclear how, or even if, they can be distinguished at the collective level. Here, we introduce two previously unreported mechanisms, burst-and-glide and burst-and-stop, and show via simulation that they also induce polarization in combination with attraction alone. Then, we compare the polarization inducing characteristics of six mechanisms; asymmetric interactions, asynchrony, anticipation, burst-and-glide, burst-and stop, and explicit alignment. We show that the mechanisms induce polarization in different parts of the attraction parameter space, that the route to polarization from uniformly random initial conditions, as well as repolarization following strong perturbations, is markedly different among the mechanisms. In particular, we find that alignment based and non-alignment based mechanisms can be distinguished via their polarization and repolarization processes. These findings further challenge the current alignment based theory of collective motion and may contribute to a more versatile theory of collective motion across scales.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Eurolib Press > Mathematical Science
Depositing User: Managing Editor
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2023 05:36
Last Modified: 28 May 2024 04:53

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