ERIC Number: EJ914063
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 5
Dynamical Systems and Jung, with a Note on Language
Barrett, Bruce E.
American Psychologist, v66 n2 p157-158 Feb-Mar 2011
Comments on the original article "Rethinking intractable conflict: The perspective of dynamical systems," by R. R. Vallacher, P. T. Coleman, A. Nowak, and L. Bui-Wrzosinska. Vallacher et al presented an intriguing description of dynamical systems theory as applied to the understanding of intractable conflicts ranging from the intrapsychic to the international. It seems clear from the authors' text that the term hysteresis (p. 267) was not their coinage but came from the mathematical history of dynamical systems theory. The concept is fascinating: A single-time measure of an event in a dynamical system is meaningless without knowledge of the whole status of the system, its history, and the current direction of periodic cycles maintained by the system's attractors. Unfortunately, the sound of the term is reminiscent of "hysteria," as if it included notions of feminine unpredictability, periodicity, and emotional catastrophe. Scholars of ancient Greek may find etymological counterweights to this concern, but the use of the word in today's literature runs the risk of intractable conflict with feminist theorists, whose justifiable objection should be intense. I propose the terms bivalence for hysteresis, trivalence when there are three attractors, and so on, up to multivalence for complex systems.
Descriptors: Conflict, Systems Approach, Models, Social Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Emotional Disturbances, Experimental Psychology, Theories
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
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