foreword by Hermann Haken For the past twenty years Scott Kelso's research has focused on extending the physical concepts of self- organization and the mathematical tools of nonlinear dynamics to understand how human beings (and human brains) perceive, intend, learn, control, and coordinate complex behaviors. In this book Kelso proposes a new, general framework within which to connect brain, mind, and behavior.Kelso's prescription for mental life breaks dramatically with the classical computational approach that is still the operative framework for many newer psychological and neurophysiological studies. His core thesis is that the creation and evolution of patterned behavior at all levels -- from neurons to mind -- is governed by the generic processes of self-organization. Both human brain and behavior are shown to exhibit features of pattern-forming dynamical systems, including multistability, abrupt phase transitions, crises, and intermittency.
Dynamic Patterns brings together different aspects of this approach to the study of human behavior, using simple experimental examples and illustrations to convey essential concepts, strategies, and methods, with a minimum of mathematics.
Kelso begins with a general account of dynamic pattern formation. He then takes up behavior, focusing initially on identifying pattern-forming instabilities in human sensorimotor coordination. Moving back and forth between theory and experiment, he establishes the notion that the same pattern-forming mechanisms apply regardless of the component parts involved (parts of the body, parts of the nervous system, parts of society) and the medium through which the parts are coupled. Finally, employing the latest techniques to observe spatiotemporal patterns of brain activity, Kelso shows that the human brain is fundamentally a pattern forming dynamical system, poised on the brink of instability. Self-organization thus underlies the cooperative action of neurons that produces human behavior in all its forms.
J. A. Scott Kelso holds the Glenwood and Martha Creech Chair in Science at Florida Atlantic University and is Founder and Director of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences.
Part 1 How nature handles complexity: what is a pattern? kinds of patterns; principles of dynamic pattern formation; the messages of self-organized patterns; new laws to be expected in the organism; matters of mind and matter; the mind revealed? or, what this book's about. Part 2 Self-organization of behaviour - the basic picture: some historical remarks about the science of psychology; are actions self-organized? if so, how? from synergies to synergetics; requirements of a theory of self-organized behaviour. Part 3 Self-organization of behaviour - first steps of generalization: Hubris tempered? on Harvard horses and Russian cats; coordination between components of an organism; coordination between organisms; on coupling. Part 4 Extending the basic picture - breaking away: relative coordination; relative coordination explained; absolute and relative coordination unified; related models - fireflies, lampreys, and lasers; instability and the nature of life - the intermittency mechanism exposed postscript. Part 5 Intentional dynamics: goal-directness in biology; the second cornerstone of biological self-organization - informational; specificity; intentional behaviourial change; related views - termites, predator-prey cycles, and quantum mechanics; summing up. Part 6 Learning dynamics: issues in learning; the main concepts; the 'seagull effect' - competition and cooperation; questions of learning; transfer and generalization - symmetry again; behaviourial development; evolution and morphogenesis; summary and conclusions. Part 7 perceptual dynamics: the barrier of meaning - perceptual dynamics I; the barrier of meaning - perceptual dynamics II; metastability of mind; principles of perceiving - calculating, settling, resonating, and twinkling. Part 8 Self-organizing dynamics of the nervous system: microscale events; mesoscale events; macroscale events; extending the basic picture...again; postscript on etymology. Part 9 Self-organization of the human brain: prolegomenon; obstacles to understanding; the brain is not a static machine; the 'brain dynamics' approach - fractural dimension; spatiotemporal patterns of the brain; models of brain behaviour - coupled modes and Sil'nikov chaos; summary and conclusions - brain behaviour.