I am interested in self-organization and emergence in social systems and complex societies—ranging from ants to humans. I focus on the interplay between individual behavior and group-level phenomena, like division of labor and social network structure. I currently work on two aspects of social organization:
- The self-organization of division of labor: How and why does behavioral specialization emerge in social systems, particularly as they get larger? How do social interactions and the ability of individuals to influence one another affect the emergence of behavioral specialization?
- The emergence of modular social networks: Why do the patterns of social interactions become more clustered and modular as groups grow larger? How is social network structure influenced by the diversity within a social system? How might cascades cause reorganization of social networks?
I believe research on these questions can not only investigate foundational biological phenomena, but can also provide insight into similar phenomena in the social sciences, like political polarization. My work is computational and theoretical, often employing individual-based models, but I collaborate with empiricists to ensure that my models are grounded in biological/social reality.
- Tokita CK, Tarnita CE. (2020). Social influence and interaction bias can drive emergent behavioural specialization and modular social networks across systems. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 17: 20190564. doi:10.1098/rsif.2019.0564
- Ulrich Y, Saragosti J, Tokita CK, Tarnita CE, Kronauer DJC. (2018). Fitness benefits and emergent division of labor at the onset of group-living. Nature, 560 (7720), 635-638. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0422-6
- Henry LP*, Tokita CK* , Misra M, Forrow AB, and Rubenstein DI. (2018). Mutualistic Acacia ants exhibit reduced aggression and more frequent off-tree movement near termite mounds. Biotropica, 50(4): 559-562. doi:10.1111/btp.12572 *Co-First Authors