Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

pp 1537-1565

Coordination Dynamics

  • James A. S. KelsoAffiliated withHuman Brain and Behavior Loboratory, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences , Florida Atlantic University

Definition of the Subject

Even before man speculated about the nature and sources of his own experiences, he was probably curiousabout the agencies by which animal motion was affected. Life and motion are almost synonymous terms.  Franklin Fearing [48]

In his preface to the Principia, Isaac Newton speculated that not just the motions of theplanets, the Moon and the tides could be explained by the forces of attraction and repulsion, but all other natural phenomena as well. Despite the hubris,“self‐motion”, Newton recognized, “was beyond our understanding” [64]. Three and a half centuries later, the problem remains: the goal‐directed coordinated movements ofanimals are not mere mechanical consequences of the laws of physics, at least as we know them. Despite the many remarkable applications of physics tobiology and entire fields devoted to them (e. g. biomechanics, biophysics, nanophysics, etc.) and despite the successes of modern molecular biology,the great unresolved problem of biology r ...

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