Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Testing measures of animal social association by computer simulation

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Techniques used to measure patterns of affiliation among social animals have rarely been tested for accuracy. One reason for this lack of validation is that it is often impossible to compare sample data to the true distribution of social assortment of a group of animals. Here we test some methods of assessing social assortment by using a computer simulation of organisms whose assortment patterns were under our control. We created male and female organisms that moved in a direction that was based on a social bias parameter. As the weight of this parameter increased, organisms were more likely to move in the direction of others of their sex. We then created virtual observers to sample assortment of the organisms under different social bias conditions. Observers used three different techniques of measuring assortment. These were (1) group membership: noting all organisms that were associated in the same 'group', (2) nearest neighbour: noting the nearest organism to a randomly selected individual and (3) neighbourhood: noting all organisms near a selected individual. Neighbourhood was taken either by all-occurrence sampling or by focal sampling the associations of randomly selected individuals. Some techniques emerged as more sensitive than others under different conditions and biases were revealed in some measures. For example, the group membership method was biased toward finding significant assortment differences between the sexes when no difference actually existed. Nearest neighbour was insensitive to finding a difference in assortment between sexes when one existed. Focal sampling was less sensitive to finding effects than all-occurrence sampling. The computer simulation revealed properties of each technique that would have been impossible to detect in the field.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 3720 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; 2: School of Biology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation