Emergent systems

Emergent systems consist of factors whose collective interactions have a bigger effect than the effect of any individual factor. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of parts. Marriages, poverty, genetic interactions, psychological states, etc. are all emergent systems.

It would be unwise to use the reductionist approach to analyze individual factors of a system and then to devise single strategies to address the whole system. A better approach would be to address the entire system together (??needs further clarification on this??). In the case of addressing poverty, one could change the environment so the environmental cues would help positively shape thinking. This would be much easier than trying to change a mindset that is going against negative environmental expectations on a daily basis.

From Chapter 7 of “The Social Animal”


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