Synergetics of the Brain: An Outline of Some Basic Ideas

  • H. Haken
Part of the Brain Dynamics book series (BD)


The interdisciplinary field of synergetics (Haken, 1983, 1987) studies the behavior of complex systems, that is, systems composed of very many elements, or parts, or subsystems. It focuses its attention on those systems that can develop spatial, temporal, or functional structures on macroscopic scales. Examples are provided in physics by fluids that can form specific patterns (e.g., honeycomb patterns or oscillations), laser physics and nonlinear optics, where a great variety of oscillations and wave propagation phenomena occur, chemistry with a formation of macroscopic spiral or ring wave patterns, models in biology of population dynamics, morphogenesis, evolutional processes, and a variety of other fields. Over the past two decades it could be shown that self-organization is governed by general principles that can be summarized as follows: When specific control parameters, which may be the energy input into a system or a specific signal flow, change, the former state of the system becomes unstable and new kinds of structures may emerge. Despite the fact that the system is originally described in general by an enormous number of variables, close to the instability point the dynamics and structure formation are governed by rather few variables, the so-called order parameters. The behavior of the individual elements or parts is governed, or in technical terms, enslaved, by the order parameters.


Instability Point High Energy Input Honeycomb Pattern External Periodic Force Wave Propagation Phenomenon 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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  • H. Haken

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