[Paleopsych] fads and atoms

Hannes Eisler he at psychology.su.se
Mon May 9 13:36:26 UTC 2005

What about incorrectly folded prions?

>Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
>Content-Language: en
>The following article hits the motherlode when it comes to our past 
>discussions of Ur patterns, iteration, and fracticality.  Ur 
>patterns are those that show up on multiple levels of emergence, 
>patterns that make anthropomorphism a reasonable way of doing 
>science, patterns that explain why a metaphor can capture in its 
>word-picture the underlying structure of a whirlwind, a brain-spin, 
>or a culture-shift.
>Here's how a pattern in the molecules of magnets repeats itself in 
>the mass moodswings of human beings.  Howard
>etrieved May 6, 2005, from the World Wide Web  
>http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18624984.200 HOME |NEWS 
>|JOBS  Click to PrintOne law rules dedicated followers of fashion 06 
>May 2005  Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition  Mark Buchanan  
>FADS, fashions and dramatic shifts in public opinion all appear to 
>follow a physical law: one of the laws of magnetism.  Quentin 
>Michard of the School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry in Paris 
>and Jean-Philippe Bouchaud of the Atomic Energy Commission in 
>Saclay, France, were trying to explain three social trends: 
>plummeting European birth rates in the late 20th century, the rapid 
>adoption of cellphones in Europe in the 1990s and the way people 
>clapping at a concert suddenly stop doing so. In each case, they 
>theorised, individuals not only have their own preferences, but also 
>tend to imitate others.  "Imitation is deeply rooted in biology as a 
>survival strategy," says Bouchaud. In particular, people frequently 
>copy others who they think know something they don't.  To model the 
>consequences of imitation, the researchers turned to the physics of 
>magnets. An applied magnetic field will coerce the spins of atoms in 
>a magnetic material to point in a certain direction. And often an 
>atom's spin direction pushes the spins of neighbouring atoms to 
>point in a similar direction. And even if an applied field changes 
>direction slowly, the spins sometimes flip all together and quite 
>abruptly.  The physicists modified the model such that the atoms 
>represented people and the direction of the spin indicated a 
>person's behaviour, and used it to predict shifts in public 
>opinion.  In the case of cellphones, for example, it is clear that 
>as more people realised how useful they were, and as their price 
>dropped, more people would buy them. But how quickly the trend took 
>off depended on how strongly people influenced each other. The 
>magnetic model predicts that when people have a strong tendency to 
>imitate others, shifts in behaviour will be faster, and there may 
>even be discontinuous jumps, with many people adopting cellphones 
>virtually overnight.  More specifically, the model suggests that the 
>rate of opinion change accelerates in a mathematically predictable 
>way, with ever greater numbers of people changing their minds as the 
>population nears the point of maximum change. Michard and Bouchaud 
>checked this prediction against their model and found that the 
>trends in birth rates and cellphone usage in European nations 
>conformed quite accurately to this pattern. The same was true of the 
>rate at which clapping died away in concerts.  Close this window  
>Printed on Sat May 07 01:01:50 BST 2005 
>Howard Bloom
>Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the 
>Forces of History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From 
>The Big Bang to the 21st Century
>Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York 
>University; Core Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute
>Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; founding board 
>member: Epic of Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin 
>Project; founder: The Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York 
>Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of 
>Science, American Psychological Society, Academy of Political 
>Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International Society 
>for Human Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; 
>executive editor -- New Paradigm book series.
>For information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see: 
>for two chapters from
>The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
>History, see www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
>For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the 
>Big Bang to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net
>paleopsych mailing list
>paleopsych at paleopsych.org


Prof. Hannes Eisler
Department of Psychology
Stockholm University
S-106 91 Stockholm

e-mail:   he at psychology.su.se
fax   :   +46-8-15 93 42
phone :   +46-8-163967 (university)
           +46-8-6409982 (home)
internet: http://www.psychology.su.se/staff/he
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