| Cognitive Search: Evolution, Algorithms, and the Brain
Problem Solving and Search in Networks
This paper examines the role that networks play in facilitating/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 individual experimental or cognitive search. Research on networks suggests that (1) diverse ties provides a wider menu of choices and insights for individuals, and (2) strong ties will be relatively more useful for complex information, and weak 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 and beyond it so as to balance experimentation and convergence towards a solution encouraged by either the external network or the internal group dynamic. Collective coordination of search, and collective evaluation of potential solutions, may significantly influence the previous recommendations for the optimal network structure for network search.
Innovation and Invention;
Social and Collaborative Networks;
Lazer, David, and Ethan S Bernstein. "Problem Solving and Search in Networks." Chap. 17 in Cognitive Search: Evolution, Algorithms, and the Brain, edited by Peter M Todd, Thomas T Hills, and Trevor W Robbins, 261–273. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.