Nonlinear Dynamical Systems in
Comment on Trofimova
This is a particularly interesting paper demonstrating that social processes possess a dynamics of their own which is, to some extent, independent of the nature of the agents of which it is comprised. This has long been known in the physical literature but is less well known in the social sciences which presume that group effects are an outcome of the particular mixture of individuals which make up the society. Here we see evidence that this is not the case and that in fact the high level dynamics of the society can have a direct impact upon the behavior of the individuals making up that society.
It also demonstrates that is our attempts to understand the dyanmics of groups we must look away from particular instances of behavior and instead focus upon the statistical and temporal organization of such behaviors. The demonstration of the presence of a statistical phase transition is a novel idea for researchers outside of some arcane domains of physics, and, I think, demonstrates the utility of physical concepts in the social sciences.
Wed Dec 9