When one thinks of complexity or complex systems in the natural sciences, one usually thinks of systems of molecules or of cells, or of weather patterns, systems that although different in the specific case, are fairly well understood in terms of interaction properties.  Gas molecules exchange energy when they collide. Fluid flows always become turbulent when under certain constraints or tensions. When these systems adapt to changing circumstanes they are called complex adaptive systems (CAS).

Human beings are each unique, and they are each unique in many ways. This makes a complexity model of human interaction dynamics (HID) uniquely difficult to formulate and new to research. 

  • First, each individual is born unique, with different genes and into unique circumstances.  This means that each has different preferences and therefore is likely to interact with each unique other differently. The notion of homogenous interactions is therefore flawed with regards the innate or deeply grained aspects of human personaility, cognitive abilities and affect.
  • Second, each individual has unique experiences and memories of prior inteactions. As a result, due to the unique experiences - including social learning experiences - that are carried in an individual's memory, each agent enters an interaction with a different perspective and interpretation of the situation.
  • Third, human beings learn and change. They are are capable of gathering and using information generated in real time from unfolding events. This means that a given individual can change his or her perspective in real time so that it is possible that even the same actor might face an identical situation at different times and enter into a different interaction ceteris paribus.

The science in this area is only now being developed.  The Institute supports theoretical and empirical efforts to further its development.