Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 21, Iss. 2, April, 2017, pp. 129-141
@2017 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences

 
 
 

Dynamical Systems Theory in Quantitative Psychology and Cognitive Science: A Fair Discrimination between Deterministic and Statistical Counterparts is Required

Adam Gadomski, UTP University of Science & Technology, Bydgoszcz, Poland
Marcel Ausloos, GRAPES, Liege, Belgium and University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Tahlia Casey, Delaware State University, Dover, DE

Abstract: This article addresses a set of observations framed in both deterministic as well as statistical formal guidelines. It operates within the framework of nonlinear dynamical systems theory (NDS). It is argued that statistical approaches can manifest themselves ambiguously, creating practical discrepancies in psychological and cognitive data analyses both quantitatively and qualitatively. This is sometimes termed in literature as ”questionable research practices.” This communication points to the demand for a deeper awareness of the data ”initial conditions, allowing to focus on pertinent evolution constraints in such systems.” It also considers whether the exponential (Malthus-type) or the algebraic (Pareto-type) statistical distribution ought to be effectively considered in practical interpretations. The role of repetitive specific behaviors by patients seeking treatment is examined within the NDS frame. The significance of these behaviors, involving a certain memory effect seems crucial in determining a patient”s progression or regression. With this perspective, it is discussed how a sensitively applied hazardous or triggering factor can be helpful for well-controlled psychological strategic treatments; those attributable to obsessive-compulsive disorders or self-injurious behaviors are recalled in particular. There are both inherent criticality- and complexity-exploiting (reduced-variance based) relations between a therapist and a patient that can be intrinsically included in NDS theory.

Keywords: dynamical systems theory, initial conditions, deterministic vs. statistical, exponential distribution, power law