Interactional Bifurcations in Human Interaction — A Formal Approach

  • Otto Rössler
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN, volume 58)


Dynamical systems can undergo a change of qualitative behavior as an external parameter is varied. This is called a bifurcation or “function change.” A striking example is the explanation of morphogenesis proposed by Turing: Two symmetrically coupled systems (“cells”) undergo a bifurcation under a symmetric coupling even though — due to the symmetry of the coupling — the coupling has no effect whatsoever as long as both cells are in the same state. This counterintuitive result deserves the name “interactional bifurcation.” Two new proposals are made. First, autonomous optimiziers (formal brains) can undergo interactional bifurcations, too. Second, the resulting function change can be radical: A previous “autistic” type of functioning may give way to a “thoughtful” one which includes rational and moral behavior. A working computer model has yet to be given. Potential applications to the real world are based on the finding of van Hooff that only the human primate exhibits a symmetric type of interactional cross coupling (a happy laugh mimicking a friendly smile). The proposed importance of this fact is consistent with an empirical finding of Fraiberg. Therapeutic consequences in the spirit of Bateson suggest themselves.


Dynamical System Theory Control Space Symmetric Coupling Symmetric Type Formal Brain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

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  • Otto Rössler

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