Human Struggles Explained With a Simple Mathematical Formula

by Savitha C Muppala on Dec 15 2013 12:10 AM

 Human Struggles Explained With a Simple Mathematical Formula
Researchers have discovered a mathematical expression called a "power-law" that explains a wide variety of human confrontations - from child-parent struggles to cyber-attacks and civil unrest.
In a sort of unified theory of human conflict, scientists have found a way to mathematically describe the severity and timing of human confrontations that affect us personally and as a society.

Corresponding author Neil Johnson, professor of physics and the head of the interdisciplinary research group in Complexity, at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami (UM), said that by picking out a specific baby (and parent), and studying what actions of the parent make the child escalate or de-escalate its cries, they can understand better how to counteract cyber-attacks against a particular sector of U.S. cyber infrastructure, or how an outbreak of civil unrest in a given location (e.g. Syria) will play out, following particular government interventions.

The findings show that this mathematical formula of the form AB-C is a valuable tool that can be applied to make quantitative predictions concerning future attacks in a given confrontation.

It can also be used to create an intervention strategy against the perpetrators and, more broadly, as a quantitative starting point for cross-disciplinary theorizing about human aggression, at the individual and group level, in both real and online worlds.

The new study has been published in journal Nature's Scientific Reports.