Effects of Search Strategies on Collective Problem-Solving

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In today’s dynamic and complex social environments, collaborative human groups play a critical role in addressing a wide range of real-world challenges. Collective problem-solving, the process of finding solutions through the collaboration of individuals, has become imperative in addressing scientific and technical problems. This paper develops an agent-based model to investigate the influence of different search strategies (simple local search, random search, and adaptive search) on the performance of collective problem-solving under various conditions. The research involves simulations on various problem spaces and considers distinct search errors. Results show that random search initially outperforms other strategies when the search errors are relatively small, yet it is surpassed by adaptive search in the long term when the search errors increase. A simple local search consistently performs the worst among the three strategies. Furthermore, the findings regarding adaptive search reveal that the speed of adaptation in adaptive search varies across problem spaces and search error levels, emphasizing the importance of context-specific parameterization in adaptive search strategies. Lastly, the values of Ps=0.9 and Pf=0.2 obtained through human subject experiments in adaptive search appear to be a favorable choice across various scenarios in this simulation work, particularly for complex problems entailing substantial search errors. This research contributes to a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of search strategies in complex environments, providing insights for improving collaborative problem-solving processes in real-world applications.

Mathematics 11 (22): 4642 (2023)