Special Issue "Complexity Science in Human Change: Research, Models, Clinical Applications"

A special issue of Entropy (ISSN 1099-4300). This special issue belongs to the section "Complexity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (16 November 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Franco Orsucci
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University College London, London E14 9TS, UK
Interests: clinical psychology; psychiatry; complexity science; neuroscience; human interfaces
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Tschacher
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Experimental Psychology, University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, CH-3060 Bern, Switzerland
Interests: clinical psychology; psychiatry; complexity science; neuroscience; interpersonal synchrony

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Self-organization and synchronization are common in human interactions. Empirical research finds that regular patterns of interaction arise in all human relations. The therapist-patient relationship can help to highlight further how interactions evolve and can be changed. Attractors describe stable states of a process, e.g. stability or instability of personality and disorders. They can be detected and described based on empirical time series.

Change is studied in phase transitions when dynamics move between different attractors. This might be evident in behaviors, mental states, and neurobiology. Theoretical models can represent dynamical maps of change in mathematical equations and topological structures. Mapping theory to empirical research, and vice versa, is challenging but heuristic.

Social and clinical sciences are also using qualitative research and models of complexity. They can be metaphorical or well linked to empirical data. The status of qualitative research in Complexity Science can be relevant in relation to quantitative approaches.

One of the main features of complexity and self-organization is the presence of scaling and fractal dynamics with emergence of higher order organizations. Human heterogeneous networks present specific kinds of self-similarity in the embodied mind, individual and social dynamics. Human dynamical systems mapping present rugged landscapes still being explored, including deterministic chaos, stochastic indeterminism, quantum field granularities.

Finally, translational processes and procedures from research to applications and vice versa are particularly relevant as they frequently include interdisciplinary collaborations.

Prof. Dr. Franco Orsucci
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Tschacher
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Affect-Logic, Embodiment, Synergetics, and the Free Energy Principle: New Approaches to the Understanding and Treatment of Schizophrenia
Entropy 2021, 23(12), 1619; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/e23121619 - 01 Dec 2021
Viewed by 203
Abstract
This theoretical paper explores the affect-logic approach to schizophrenia in light of the general complexity theories of cognition: embodied cognition, Haken’s synergetics, and Friston’s free energy principle. According to affect-logic, the mental apparatus is an embodied system open to its environment, driven by [...] Read more.
This theoretical paper explores the affect-logic approach to schizophrenia in light of the general complexity theories of cognition: embodied cognition, Haken’s synergetics, and Friston’s free energy principle. According to affect-logic, the mental apparatus is an embodied system open to its environment, driven by bioenergetic inputs of emotions. Emotions are rooted in goal-directed embodied states selected by evolutionary pressure for coping with specific situations such as fight, flight, attachment, and others. According to synergetics, nonlinear bifurcations and the emergence of new global patterns occur in open systems when control parameters reach a critical level. Applied to the emergence of psychotic states, synergetics and the proposed energetic understanding of emotions lead to the hypothesis that critical levels of emotional tension may be responsible for the transition from normal to psychotic modes of functioning in vulnerable individuals. In addition, the free energy principle through learning suggests that psychotic symptoms correspond to alternative modes of minimizing free energy, which then entails distorted perceptions of the body, self, and reality. This synthetic formulation has implications for novel therapeutic and preventive strategies in the treatment of psychoses, among these are milieu-therapeutic approaches of the Soteria type that focus on a sustained reduction of emotional tension and phenomenologically oriented methods for improving the perception of body, self, and reality. Full article
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Article
Clients’ Emotional Experiences Tied to Therapist-Led (but Not Client-Led) Physiological Synchrony during Imagery Rescripting
Entropy 2021, 23(12), 1556; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/e23121556 - 23 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Imagery rescripting (IR), an effective intervention technique, may achieve its benefits through various change mechanisms. Previous work has indicated that client–therapist physiological synchrony during IR may serve as one such mechanism. The present work explores the possibility that therapist-led vs. client-led synchrony may [...] Read more.
Imagery rescripting (IR), an effective intervention technique, may achieve its benefits through various change mechanisms. Previous work has indicated that client–therapist physiological synchrony during IR may serve as one such mechanism. The present work explores the possibility that therapist-led vs. client-led synchrony may be differentially tied to clients’ emotional experiences in therapy. The analyses were conducted with data taken from an open trial of a brief protocol for treating test anxiety (86 IR sessions from 50 client–therapist dyads). Physiological synchrony in electrodermal activity was indexed using two cross-correlation functions per session: once for client leading and again for therapist leading (in both cases, with lags up to 10 s). The clients’ and therapists’ in-session emotions were assessed with the Profile of Mood States. Actor–partner interdependence models showed that certain client (but not therapist) in-session emotions, namely higher contentment and lower anxiety and depression, were tied to therapist-led (but not client-led) physiological synchrony. The results suggest that therapist-led synchrony (i.e., clients’ arousal tracking therapists’ earlier arousal) is tied to more positive and less negative emotional experiences for clients. Full article
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Article
Affective Saturation Index: A Lexical Measure of Affect
Entropy 2021, 23(11), 1421; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/e23111421 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Affect plays a major role in the individual’s daily life, driving the sensemaking of experience, psychopathological conditions, social representations of phenomena, and ways of coping with others. The characteristics of affect have been traditionally investigated through physiological, self-report, and behavioral measures. The present [...] Read more.
Affect plays a major role in the individual’s daily life, driving the sensemaking of experience, psychopathological conditions, social representations of phenomena, and ways of coping with others. The characteristics of affect have been traditionally investigated through physiological, self-report, and behavioral measures. The present article proposes a text-based measure to detect affect intensity: the Affective Saturation Index (ASI). The ASI rationale and the conceptualization of affect are overviewed, and an initial validation study on the ASI’s convergent and concurrent validity is presented. Forty individuals completed a non-clinical semi-structured interview. For each interview transcript, the ASI was esteemed and compared to the individual’s physiological index of propensity to affective arousal (measured by heart rate variability (HRV)); transcript semantic complexity (measured through the Semantic Entropy Index (SEI)); and lexical syntactic complexity (measured through the Flesch–Vacca Index (FVI)). ANOVAs and bi-variate correlations estimated the size of the relationships between indexes and sample characteristics (age, gender), then a set of multiple linear regressions tested the ASI’s association with HRV, the SEI, and the FVI. Results support the ASI construct and criteria validity. The ASI proved able to detect affective saturation in interview transcripts (SEI and FVI, adjusted R2 = 0.428 and adjusted R2 = 0.241, respectively) and the way the text’s affective saturation reflected the intensity of the individual’s affective state (HRV, adjusted R2 = 0.428). In conclusion, although the specificity of the sample (psychology students) limits the findings’ generalizability, the ASI provides the chance to use written texts to measure affect in accordance with a dynamic approach, independent of the spatio-temporal setting in which they were produced. In doing so, the ASI provides a way to empower the empirical analysis of fields such as psychotherapy and social group dynamics. Full article
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Article
Beyond Dyadic Coupling: The Method of Multivariate Surrogate Synchrony (mv-SUSY)
Entropy 2021, 23(11), 1385; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/e23111385 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 328
Abstract
Measuring interpersonal synchrony is a promising approach to assess the complexity of social interaction, which however has been mostly limited to dyads. In this study, we introduce multivariate Surrogate Synchrony (mv-SUSY) to extend the current set of computational methods. Methods: mv-SUSY was applied [...] Read more.
Measuring interpersonal synchrony is a promising approach to assess the complexity of social interaction, which however has been mostly limited to dyads. In this study, we introduce multivariate Surrogate Synchrony (mv-SUSY) to extend the current set of computational methods. Methods: mv-SUSY was applied to eight datasets consisting of 10 time series each, all with n = 9600 observations. Datasets 1 to 5 consist of simulated time series with the following characteristics: white noise (dataset 1), non-stationarity with linear time trends (dataset 2), autocorrelation (dataset 3), oscillation (dataset 4), and multivariate correlation (dataset 5). Datasets 6 to 8 comprise empirical multivariate movement data of two individuals (datasets 6 and 7) and between members of a group discussion (dataset 8.) Results: As hypothesized, findings of mv-SUSY revealed absence of synchrony in datasets 1 to 4 and presence of synchrony in dataset 5. In the empirical datasets, mv-SUSY indicated significant movement synchrony. These results were predominantly replicated by two well-established dyadic synchrony approaches, Surrogate Synchrony (SUSY) and Surrogate Concordance (SUCO). Conclusions: The study applied and evaluated a novel synchrony approach, mv-SUSY. We demonstrated the feasibility and validity of estimating multivariate nonverbal synchrony within and between individuals by mv-SUSY. Full article
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Perspective
Human Synchronization Maps—The Hybrid Consciousness of the Embodied Mind
Entropy 2021, 23(12), 1569; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/e23121569 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 189
Abstract
We examine the theoretical implications of empirical studies developed over recent years. These experiments have explored the biosemiotic nature of communication streams from emotional neuroscience and embodied mind perspectives. Information combinatorics analysis enabled a deeper understanding of the coupling and decoupling dynamics of [...] Read more.
We examine the theoretical implications of empirical studies developed over recent years. These experiments have explored the biosemiotic nature of communication streams from emotional neuroscience and embodied mind perspectives. Information combinatorics analysis enabled a deeper understanding of the coupling and decoupling dynamics of biosemiotics streams. We investigated intraindividual and interpersonal relations as coevolution dynamics of hybrid couplings, synchronizations, and desynchronizations. Cluster analysis and Markov chains produced evidence of chimaera states and phase transitions. A probabilistic and nondeterministic approach clarified the properties of these hybrid dynamics. Thus, multidimensional theoretical models can represent the hybrid nature of human interactions. Full article
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