Going to CogSci17 in London this summer for my first research presentation, the paper is to be published in the proceedings (and can be found here). Here’s the abstract:
The actualization of affordances can often be accomplished in numerous, equifinal ways. For instance, an individual could discard an item in a rubbish bin by walking over and dropping it, or by throwing it from a distance. The aim of the current study was to investigate the behavioral dynamics associated with such metastability using a ball-to-bin transportation task. Using time-interval between sequential ball-presentation as a control parameter, participants transported balls from a pickup location to a drop-off bin 9m away. A high degree of variability in task-actualization was expected and found, and the Cusp Catatrophe model was used to understand how this behavioral variability emerged as a function of hard (time interval) and soft (e.g. motivation) task dynamic constraints. Simulations demonstrated that this two parameter state manifold could capture the wide range of participant behaviors, and explain how these behaviors naturally emerge in an under-constrained task context.
Keywords: affordances, dynamic systems, cusp catastrophe, dynamic modeling, simulations, constraints
What does it mean that something is easily reproducible?
It speaks to the stability of the processes and constraints on which the dynamic system in question relies on for its existence.
Reproducibility or recreation (or whichever other term you may want to use for the creation of something already existent, by itself or its scaffolded/nested position) could possibly be used as a measure of something’s existential stability. For example, the survival of a language depends on many individuals speaking the language, a shared geographical space wherein the language is spoken as well as a social context/culture (or perhaps rather, all together a system of mutual support and constraint).
Uttering the words of a language you have grown up in requires little energy (whereas the history of that word involves massive amounts of energy, the word is essentially a concentrated unit of historical energy expenditure -and it is from this history that it has gained its efficiency [or meaning, or …]). That you are able to say some specific word with ease and it is understood clearly, speaks to the underlying processes’ incredible stability (from which that word has sprung from and is maintained by). Or imagine DNA.
The links between ease of reproducibility, the large amount of work produced to enable its creation as well as the amount of stability over time in its underlying processes -explains the history and maintenance of any given phenomenon.