What’s bugging us? Cockroaches rival humans in ability to make decisions as groups

Cockroaches are effective at group problem solvingWhatever my faults may be as a blogger, irregular posting is not among them. Readers will have to forgive me for nine days of unexplained silence here at Online Guide to Mediation.

Apart from the usual demands of work, I’ve unfortunately had a nasty malware infection to deal with on not just one, but two, computers. And this despite doing everything right–firewalls, updated virus definitions, and three (yup, that’s right, three) different anti-spyware programs on each laptop. (If you aren’t using it already, download Webroot’s Spy Sweeper–it saved my digital butt. It’s not free, but it performs its job with lethal accuracy, and, at $29.95 for a year’s subscription, it’s affordable.)

Now that my computers have been restored to health, it seemed somehow poetic to post about, well, bugs.

As I learned from this recent post at Collision Detection, Belgian researchers have demonstrated that cockroaches are able to make decisions as groups. They (cockroaches, that is, not Belgian researchers) approach problem solving in a democratic way, consulting with each other before making decisions. As one researcher told Discovery News,

Cockroaches are gregarious insects (that) benefit from living in groups. It increases their reproductive opportunities, (promotes) sharing of resources like shelter or food, prevents desiccation by aggregating more in dry environments, etc.

Let us hope that this news motivates us humans to work a little harder at collaboration. Otherwise, as Collision Detection author Clive Thompson says, cockroaches will definitely be inheriting the earth.

One response to “What’s bugging us? Cockroaches rival humans in ability to make decisions as groups

  1. Welcome back, we’ve missed you