Jorge I. Campos and Tom Froese
Referential communication is a complex form of social interaction whereby agents manage to coordinate behavior with respect to features that are not immediately present during the interaction. A famous example from nature is the bee waggle dance. The authors used an minimal cognitive approach to create a model of referential communication that is sufficiently minimal to permit a full dynamical analysis, and yet still complex enough so that the results provide a useful perspective onto the processes that could be involved in natural referential communication. The task is for two embodied agents to interact in a “hive” area such that one of the agents (the receiver) is able to move to a specific “target”, the location of which is only available to the other agent (the sender). The task implicitly requires adopting the right role (sender vs. receiver), disambiguating between translational and communicative motion, and switching from communicative to target seeking behavior. Similar to the waggle dance, the best solution involved a correlation between duration of contact and distance to be traveled. Dynamical analysis revealed that this behavior cannot be attributed to the sender in isolation.