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Dynamical minimalism: why less is more in psychology

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Date Issued:
Title: Dynamical minimalism: why less is more in psychology.
Name(s): Nowak, Andrzej, creator
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Article
Issuance: single unit
Date Issued: 2004
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
Extent: 11p.
Language(s): English
Identifier: 2181982 (digitool), FADT2181982 (IID), fau:2617 (fedora), 10.1207/s15327957pspr0802_12 (doi)
FAU Department/College: Department of Psychology Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Note(s): The principle of parsimony, embraced in all areas of science, states that simple explanations are preferable to complex explanations in theory construction. Parsimony, however, can necessitate a trade-off with depth and richness in understanding. The approach of dynamical minimalism avoids this trade-off. The goal of this approach is to identify the simplest mechanisms and fewest variables capable of producing the phenomenon in question. A dynamical model in which change is produced by simple rules repetitively interacting with each other can exhibit unexpected and complex properties. It is thus possible to explain complex psychological and social phenomena with very simple models if these models are dynamic. In dynamical minimalist theories, then, the principle of parsimony can be followed without sacrificing depth in understanding. Computer simulations have proven especially useful for investigating the emergent properties of simple models.
©2004 Sage Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. The final, definitive version of this paper is available at and may be cited as Nowak, Andrzej (2004) Dynamical minimalism: why less is more in psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Review 8(2):183‐192, DOI:10.1207/s15327957pspr0802_12
Subject(s): Personality.
Social psychology.
Persistent Link to This Record:
Restrictions on Access: ©2004 Sage Publications Ltd.
Host Institution: FAU

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