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Division of Labor

Division of labor takes place in three different forms


  1. Temporal polyethism The behavior of an individual is a function of it's age. Groups of similar age perform the same tasks.
  2. Worker polymorphism The behavior of an individual is a function of its morphology, morphologly similar individuels perform the same labor.
  3. Individual variability Groups that perform a task out of a set of tasks together at the same time make up a behavioral caste.


Plasticity of labor division arises from response thresholds on stimuli, which are either related to the labor itself or given by environmental conditions (i.e. temporal polyethism). If the stimuli exceeds a certain threshold, the individual switches its behavior.
The response threshold for a certain action can also be coupled with the action with a positive or negative feedback mechanism.
Posted by Nicolaus Correll on Monday 7 February 2005 at 19:06