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Complexity of Self-Reflection: Applying Complex Systems Theory to the Psychology of Self
This work argues that the self can be viewed as a complex (or nonlinear dynamical) system. The author suggests that the theoretical and mathematical constructs that were developed to model a large variety of complex systems (i.e., weather patterns, economics, ecological systems, and fluid dynamics) are ideal for modeling the self. Within the self-system,...
This work argues that the self can be viewed as a complex (or nonlinear dynamical) system. The author suggests that the theoretical and mathematical constructs that were developed to model a large variety of complex systems (i.e., weather patterns, economics, ecological systems, and fluid dynamics) are ideal for modeling the self. Within the self-system, lower-level cognitive and affective elements interact over time and give rise to global patterns of thought and behavior. Furthermore, the underlying structural features of the self-system promote temporal variation in self-evaluation that is reflected in an individual?s stream of thought. Empirical studies were conducted in an attempt to find support for this notion. In order to capture the dynamics of each individual?s self-evaluation, participants used a computer mouse to indicate their moment-to-moment feelings about a previously recorded self-description. This procedure allows one to assess temporal changes in self-evaluative thought, as well as, provides us with insight into the global structural features of the self.
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