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Date:5/13/2014

risk-taking behaviorscommon under the disinhibitory effects of alcohol may resemble leadership behavior patterns in this species.

"This research integrates rigorous principles from engineering and biology to develop an experiment that sheds light on the complex interactions among individuals in a group, their individuality and their collective behavior," said Massimo Ruzzene, NSF program director for the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation. "Analysis of complex dynamical systems is an important area of research. An understanding of complex systems, ranging from smart robots that assist in surgery to manufacturing enterprises and emergency response teams, is integral to our ability to respond effectively to emerging challenges and opportunities."

Porfiri and his team believe that the methodology developed for these experiments holds tremendous promise for future studies on the social determinants of individual responses to alcohol. By dissociating sociality from exposure, the researchers were able to study, for the first time in this species, how the impact of alcohol on behavior can be shaped by social environments. Future studies will focus on determining the degree to which social influence exerted by exposed or unexposed individuals is affected by group size.

Ultimately, the researchers hold that this line of inquiry may advance understanding of how social interactions magnify or mitigate negative effects of alcohol abuse, such as destructive behavior, and could lead to therapies to reduce the same.


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Contact: Kathleen Hamilton
kathleen.hamilton@nyu.edu
718-260-3792
New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering
Source:Eurekalert  

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