Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No Such Thing As A 'Born Leader,' Study In Fish Finds

Date:
January 31, 2009
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Followers are just as important to good leadership as are the leaders themselves, reveals a new study of stickleback fish. By randomly pairing fish of varying degrees of "boldness," the researchers showed that each member of a pair adopts the role of leader or follower. More importantly, they found, the behavior of each member of the pair is strongly influenced by its partner.

Followers are just as important to good leadership as are the leaders themselves, reveals a new study of stickleback fish published online on January 29th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

Related Articles


By randomly pairing fish of varying degrees of "boldness," the researchers showed that each member of a pair adopts the role of leader or follower. More importantly, they found, the behavior of each member of the pair is strongly influenced by its partner.

" Our study shows that the process by which leaders and followers emerge is a dynamic one," said Andrea Manica of the University of Cambridge. "Individuals aren't simply born leaders or followers, but their role in a pair—and, we could speculate, in a larger group—is the result of social feedback where everyone plays a role."

In many animal groups, certain individuals consistently appear at the forefront of coordinated movements, the researchers explained. But exactly how those leaders are chosen has been poorly understood.

In the new study, the researchers studied the behaviors of individual stickleback fish to establish their willingness to leave the cover of some weeds to enter "riskier" waters in search of food, an indication of how bold or shy they tend to be. Those fish were then randomly paired with one another to see which of the two would emerge as the natural leader.

When paired, both the bolder and the shyer of the two fish made more food-gathering trips together and stayed out for longer periods of time. Most of the time, those forays were initiated by whichever of the two fish had independently been shown to behave more boldly.

The findings show that leadership arises from individual differences in the way that fish respond to their partner's movements, they report, a phenomenon they refer to as social feedback.

" If a shy individual is paired with a very bold individual, the latter 'inspires' the former into becoming a very faithful follower," Manica said. "Conversely, a very shy individual seems to bring out the leadership of the bolder companion, which becomes a much stronger leader than if it was paired with a less shy companion."

The results show that leadership is a matter of what one might consider personality, he added. Surprisingly—or perhaps not so surprisingly—though, the personality of the leader is not all important.

The researchers include Jennifer L. Harcourt, Tzo Zen Ang, Gemma Sweetman, Rufus A. Johnstone, and Andrea Manica, of the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "No Such Thing As A 'Born Leader,' Study In Fish Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090129122516.htm>.
Cell Press. (2009, January 31). No Such Thing As A 'Born Leader,' Study In Fish Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090129122516.htm
Cell Press. "No Such Thing As A 'Born Leader,' Study In Fish Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090129122516.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Oatmeal is a fantastic way to start your day. Whichever way you prepare them, oats provide your body with many health benefits. In celebration of National Oatmeal Day, Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has a few recipe ideas, and tips on how to kickstart your day with this wholesome snack! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
GoPro Video Gives a Lion's-Eye View of The Hunt

GoPro Video Gives a Lion's-Eye View of The Hunt

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) If you’ve ever wondered what getting takeout looks like for lions in Africa, the GoPro video from Lion Whisperer Kevin Richardson will give you a lion’s-eye view of the hunt. Jen Markham has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins