Nikolai Bode


some fish




test Fish responding to air bubbles (from above)
Patterns in social interactions: Imagine handing someone a cup of coffee. Does this task always happen in the same way every time you perform it? Probably not, but some basic patterns of behaviour are likely to occur many times in everyday interactions. Little is known about the similarities and differences in such building blocks of behaviour across different social situations. As part of a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, I extended ideas from data mining and bioinformatics to experimental psychology to address this issue. Social interactions are fundamental to human nature. This research aimed to help explain the mechanisms of sociality in general. Possible applications include detecting behavioural disorders and designing social robots. Project funding:


Principles of animal collective motion: The movements of flocks of birds or schools of fish are a striking example for collective behaviour resulting from interactions between individuals. Investigating the mechanisms underlying these phenomena will help us to understand other complex systems, such as human crowds, and will allow the design of novel tools, such as swarming robots, for example. Working with Dan Franks, Jamie Wood and the lab of Iain Couzin, I used individual-based models (IBMs) to simulate the collective motion of animals. We developed novel modelling frameworks and tested them against experimental data. One of our findings was on how fish respond to higher levels of perceived threat: individuals respond more frequently to the movement of others and this leads to a higher synchronisation of their movement.
test An evacuation experiment (courtesy BaSiGo)


test Diagram for social network with a leader
Individual-specific Risks in EVacuations: As part of an AXA Research Fellowship and together with Edward Codling, I investigated what happens to individuals in crowds during evacuations. Most research considers crowds of people as a whole and investigates, for example, how long it takes an entire crowd to evacuate. In this project, we shifted the focus from the crowd to the individual and sought to investigate the relative risks individuals experience as a result of age or physical ability, for example. By testing human behaviour in evacuation computer games, we could show that in more stressful situations, people are more likely to choose exit routes they know already and that people are less flexible in their decisions compared to less stressful situations. Project funding:


Social networks and collective motion: Moving in groups is integral to the life histories of many animals. Social preferences for relatives or familiar conspecifics are common across many animal species. Such preferences, which can be encoded in social networks, could affect the collective motion of animal groups. Together with Dan Franks and Jamie Wood, I have developed theoretical models for animal movement that predict how social networks could affect the movement dynamics within populations and groups. For example, social networks could explain aspects of leadership and decision making in groups moving towards a target (see image). Designing experiments to test this is tricky, but as a first step, we have shown how we could infer to what extent individuals interact socially in navigating groups (with Edward Codling).
Nikolai Bode

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