Chaos and complexity are a set of mathematical constructs that describe how systems change over time. We use these principles to inform theory and experiments on psychological topics. To see some of the basic ideas involving chaos and complexity, please visit the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and Life Sciences website.
During the 2009-14 academic years we have designed and conducted a series of experiments on the topic of cognitive workload and fatigue that utilize catastrophe theory, which describes and explains sudden and discontinuous changes of events. Some of this work is still in progress. Other chaos and complexity topics in the recent past have involved the emergence of leaders from groups that perform different types of tasks and group coordination dynamics. Some of the ideas are relevant to emergency response situations.In the next phase of work we intend to combine the group dynamics and cognitive dynamics to study cognitive workload in groups. Other nonlinear constructs such as chaotic time series, entropy, self-organization, and synchronization are also involved. We often find new challenges to harness the nonlinear concepts with psychological data.
E-mail Dr. Stephen Guastello to get more information about his research and the position.