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Cognitive SearchEvolution, Algorithms, and the Brain$
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Peter M. Todd, Thomas T. Hills, and Trevor W. Robbins

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262018098

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262018098.001.0001

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Problem Solving and Search in Networks

Problem Solving and Search in Networks

(p.269) 17 Problem Solving and Search in Networks
Cognitive Search

David Lazer

Ethan S. Bernstein

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the role that networks play in facilitating or inhibiting search for solutions to problems at both the individual and collective levels. At the individual level, search in networks enables individuals to transport themselves to a very different location in the solution space than they could likely reach through isolated experimental or cognitive search. Research on networks suggests that (a) ties to diverse others provide a wider menu of choices and insights for individuals, and (b) strong ties will be relatively more useful for complex information, and weak ties for simple information. At the collective level, these conclusions become less clear. The key question is how the collective operates to coordinate within the group versus beyond it so as to balance experimentation and convergence toward a solution. Collective coordination of search and collective evaluation of potential solutions may significantly influence the optimal network structure for collective problem-solving search.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, cognitive search, collective search, problem solving, collective evaluation of solutions, cooperation

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