Complexity explained

Complexity science also called complex systems science, studies how a large collection of components – locally interacting with each other at the small scales – can spontaneously self-organize to exhibit non-trivial global structures and behaviors at larger scales, often without external intervention, central authorities or leaders. The properties of the collection may not be understood or predicted from the full knowledge of its constituents alone. Such a collection is called a complex system and it requires new mathematical frameworks and scientific methodologies for its investigation. Here are a few things you should know about complex systems.


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Love as Dependency, Attachment, Trust, and Honesty

This chapter discusses the experience and expression of dependency, attachment, trust, and honesty in love. In positive ways, these experiences create the feelings of security and comfort, yet, in case of violation of expectations makes people suffering. One topic, which is not covered in this chapter, is the experience of tolerance and acceptance. Although it seems the key for endurance of love relationship, yet cross-cultural studies have not investigated this topic so far.

The chapter reviews the variety of experiences and expressions of dependency, attachment, trust, and honesty in love, the methods and measures, which researchers employed to study those, and the results that they obtained in their studies. This chapter describes in detail (1) the research designs, (2) methods, (3) instruments and measures, (4) samples (including their location, sample size, and other details), and (5) the data and results of studies (including descriptive statistics, such as means and size of correlations).

The details of descriptive statistics help readers understand what the differences in the means for cultural samples are, what is the size of correlations, and other statistics. These details allow readers to make independent judgments about reliability and validity of results.


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Will Helping Others Also Benefit You? Adolescents’ Altruistic Personality Traits and Life Satisfaction

The importance of improving adolescents’ quality of life is widely known, especially with the proliferation of so-called “diseases of civilization” (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression, tension, panic). According to numerous previous studies, personality is a very important influencer of life satisfaction, and altruistic personality is considered an important and positive personality type. Altruism might, therefore, be an effective way to improve adolescents’ life satisfaction. However, under a market economy, it is difficult to form widespread social customs of altruism. Will helping others also benefit you, representing a win-win situation? Against this background, we conduct the first exploration of the relationship between altruistic personality and life satisfaction. A sample of 428 adolescents completed measures of altruism, life satisfaction, and emotion. The main findings were as follows: (1) adolescents with higher levels of altruism have more positive emotions, fewer negative emotions, and higher life satisfaction; (2) emotions mediated the relationship between altruistic personality traits and life satisfaction; (3) empathy predicted life satisfaction not only directly but also indirectly through positive and negative emotions; (4) social responsibility predicted life satisfaction not only directly but also indirectly through positive emotions; (5) interpersonal trust predicted life satisfaction through negative emotions; (6) sociability predicted life satisfaction through positive emotions. In a word, helping others will benefit yourself as well. These findings are of great practical and theoretical significance for improving adolescents’ quality of life, enriching their personality, and enhancing their positive psychological experience. This study’s results can also contribute to instilling the positive social custom of “one for all, all for one”.


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Relationships Between Humility and Emotional and Psychological Well-Being

The present research is a preliminary investigation of the concurrent and temporal relationships between humility and two forms of well-being: emotional and psychological well-being. Humility, emotional well-being, and psychological well-being were measured twice 6 weeks apart. Humility correlated positively with psychological well-being at both time-points but was positively related to emotional well-being at only one time-point. In addition, we used structural equation modeling to perform cross-lagged panel analyses and found that psychological well-being predicted an increase in humility over time, but humility did not predict changes in psychological well-being over time. In addition, there were no cross-lagged associations between emotional well-being and humility. The results suggest that humility does not necessarily lead to more pleasant or fulfilling experiences, but psychological well-being is conducive to cultivating humility.

To conclude, while past studies have shown that humility bestows several interpersonal and intrapersonal adaptive benefits, we found that being humble may not lead to more pleasant or fulfilling experiences, and emotionally pleasant experiences do not promote humility. However, psychological well-being predicts an increase in humility over time. Hence, fulfilling experiences can be a vital source for cultivating humility.


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Does Our Age Affect the Way we Live? A Study on Strategies Across the Life Span

This study set out to explore the savoring strategies used by adolescents, adults and the elderly with a view to contributing to theory on age and savoring. A sample of 1018 Portuguese participants, answered the Positive Experiences Questionnaire, a self-report questionnaire with open-ended questions on savoring strategies used to prolong or intensify the positive emotions associated with positive events, in addition to their respective efficacy. The data content analysis showed that participants use complex strategy patterns to up-regulate their positive emotional experiences, comprising cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, volitional and sensory strategies. Age differences in savoring were identified, with the adolescents mostly referring to interpersonal strategies, namely taking care of relationships, and the adult and elderly participants predominantly recalling cognitive strategies, more specifically sharing with others and having thoughts of faith or thankfulness, respectively. The majority of participants considered the savoring strategies used to be efficacious and no significant associations were found between the lifespan groups in this regard. These findings may further the understanding of documented differences in subjective well-being across the life-span and inform intervention efforts in this domain. The article closes by suggesting directions for future studies.


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The Relationship Between Curiosity, Engagement, and Student Development

This paper examines relationships among curiosity, engagement, and student development across five domains—(1) cognitive complexity, (2) knowledge acquisition, construction, integration, and application, (3) humanitarianism and civic engagement, (4) intrapersonal and interpersonal development, and (5) practical competence. Although extant research examines antecedents and outcomes of engagement extensively, no study explicitly assesses curiosity, engagement, and student development. Results suggest that engagement mediates epistemic and perceptual types of curiosity and student development. Educators and administrators can use these findings to create engaging education during which curiosity swiftly transforms into holistic student development.


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The More Modest You are, the Happier You are: The Mediating Roles of Emotional Intelligence and Self-esteem

Modesty, often defined as a goal-direct self-presentational behavior, is highly beneficial to behavioral health regulation, self-efficacy, interpersonal relation, and group performance. Recent theories and studies have provided evidence that modesty is linked to adaptive well-being, but the potential mechanisms underlying this relationship remain poorly understood. This study examined the mediating roles of emotional intelligence (EI) and self-esteem (SE) in the relationship between modesty and subjective well-being (SWB) as well as depression among 500 Chinese adults. The results showed that higher levels of modesty were positively associated with EI, SE, SWB, and negatively correlated with depression. Furthermore, EI and SE were positively related to SWB, and were negatively related to depression. Path analyses indicated that EI and SE mediated the relationship between modesty and both SWB and depression in-sequence. EI was also a direct mediator between modesty and depression, whereas SE played an indirect role through its relationship with EI. These findings suggest an important role of modesty in promoting well-being and provide preliminary evidence regarding possible mechanisms through which modesty contributes to well-being.


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Survival of the Fittest and the Sexiest: Evolutionary Origins of Adolescent Bullying

The central idea of evolutionary psychology theory (EPT) is that species evolve to carry or exhibit certain traits/behaviors because these characteristics increase their ability to survive and reproduce. Proponents of EPT propose that bullying emerges from evolutionary development, providing an adaptive edge for gaining better sexual opportunities and physical protection, and promoting mental health. This study examines adolescent bullying behaviors via the lens of EPT. Questionnaires were administered to 135 adolescents, ages 13 to 16, from one secondary school in metro Vancouver, British Columbia. Participants were categorized into one of four groups (bullies, victims, bully/victims, or bystanders) according to their involvement in bullying interactions as measured by the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire. Four dependent variables were examined: depression, self-esteem, social status, and social anxiety. Results indicate that bullies had the most positive scores on mental health measures and held the highest social rank in the school environment, with significant differences limited to comparisons between bullies and bully/victims. These results lend support to the hypothesis that youth bullying is derived from evolutionary development. Implications for approaching anti-bullying strategies in schools and directions for future studies are discussed.


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The emergence of an innovation ecosystem in a low innovation region: Disrupting inertia by a young university

Innovation ecosystems are characterized by a variety of complementary actors and relationships among them. Universities are considered a key player in innovation ecosystems for their ability to generate knowledge and qualified expertise for entrepreneurial innovation. While much attention has been paid to mature ecosystems characterized by cutting-edge technologies, the role of less established universities in less innovative regions, characterized by a lack of relationships, family-owned firms, difficult university-industry collaborations, but great potential, has remained very much underexplored. Based on a longitudinal case study of a young university in Italy, this paper aims at contributing to the existing literature by looking at the role of the university in defining actors’ positions and relationships in establishing an innovation ecosystem. In doing so, we contribute to the existing literature in several ways. First, we highlight that the formation of an innovation ecosystem in a small area highly depends on the university’s potential of disrupting established relationships, creating new ones and, thus, playing an active role in designing the ecosystem. Second, we provide a process-based view for understanding the establishment of an innovation ecosystem through the evolution of interactions, roles, and activities. Finally, we describe the micro-dynamics characterizing innovation ecosystem emergence and institutionalization and we show that bottom-up approaches are possible as well.


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The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution

In almost every human society some people get more and others get less. Why is inequity the rule in these societies? In The Origins of Unfairness, philosopher Cailin O’Connor firstly considers how groups are divided into social categories, like gender, race, and religion, to address this question. She uses the formal frameworks of game theory and evolutionary game theory to explore the cultural evolution of the conventions which piggyback on these seemingly irrelevant social categories. These frameworks elucidate a variety of topics from the innateness of gender differences, to collaboration in academia, to household bargaining, to minority disadvantage, to homophily. They help to show how inequity can emerge from simple processes of cultural change in groups with gender and racial categories, and under a wide array of situations. The process of learning conventions of coordination and resource division is such that some groups will tend to get more and others less. O’Connor offers solutions to such problems of coordination and resource division and also shows why we need to think of inequity as part of an ever-evolving process. Surprisingly minimal conditions are needed to robustly produce phenomena related to inequity and, once inequity emerges in these models, it takes very little for it to persist indefinitely. Thus, those concerned with social justice must remain vigilant against the dynamic forces that push towards inequity.


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