Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 19, Iss. 2, April, 2015, pp. 111-146
@2015 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


On the Interplay between Order Parameter Dynamics and System Parameter Dynamics in Human Perceptual-Cognitive-Behavioral Systems

T. D. Frank, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that perceiving, thinking, and acting are human activities that correspond to self-organized patterns. The emergence of such patterns can be completely described in terms of the dynamics of the pattern amplitudes, which are referred to as order parameters. The patterns emerge at bifurcations points when certain system parameters internal and external to a human agent exceed critical values. At issue is how one might study the order parameter dynamics for sequences of consecutive, emergent perceptual, cognitive, or behavioral activities. In particular, these activities may in turn impact the system parameters that have led to the emergence of the activities in the first place. This interplay between order parameter dynamics and system parameter dynamics is discussed in general and formulated in mathematical terms. Previous work that has made use of this two-tiered framework of order parameter and system parameter dynamics are briefly addressed. As an application, a model for perception under functional fixedness is presented. Finally, it is argued that the phenomena that emerge in this framework and can be observed when human agents perceive, think, and act are just as likely to occur in pattern formation systems of the inanimate world. Consequently, these phenomena do not necessarily have a neurophysiological basis but should instead be understood from the perspective of the theory of self-organization.

Keywords: perceptual-cognitive-behavioral system, self-organization, order parameters, system parameter dynamics, functional fixedness