My current work is devoted to identifying the dynamic properties of complex human experience. To a large extent, this work reflects advances in the study of nonlinear dynamical systems in mathematics and the physical sciences. The appeal of this approach is its potential for establishing invariant principles underlying the surface structure of highly diverse phenomena. There is reason to believe that topics as seemingly disparate as social judgment, self-concept, close relations, and societal transition have in common the emergence of complex properties from simple rules of interaction among basic elements (e.g., thoughts, self-relevant information, individuals, groups). And although these phenomena unfold on vastly different time scales (e.g., seconds vs. years), the underlying patterns of change in each case conform to a small set of well-defined temporal trajectories or attractors. Beyond providing insight into specific phenomena, then, this work may provide the concepts and tools (e.g., time-series analysis, computer simulations) necessary to integrate what most would admit is a highly fragmented field. Time will tell.
ORLJ 4800: Conflict and Complexity