sábado, abril 12, 2008

Estado Indescritível No. 7

Mais dois blogs científicos para o blogroll: localizei o blog do Leo e da Karynn, o Estado Indescritível No. 7 através de um comentário que o Leo postou aqui (viu como vale a pena postar comentários?)

No perfil do Leo, havia outro blog, que descobri ser um blog coletivo da décima quinta turma do curso de ciências moleculares da USP: o T15 CCM. Existirão outros blogs, de outras turmas? Peguei o artigo abaixo nesse blog.
Researchers propose a mathematical model of marriage
The Cronicle of Higher education - From the issue dated April 25, 2003
So what's the cash value of all this mathematics? What insights has it offered Mr. Gottman that he couldn't have derived through ordinary intuition, or by analyzing his data with humdrum statistical techniques? "I believe it was Lord Rutherford who said, If you need to use statistics, then you should design a better experiment," says Mr. Murray. "Statistics will just give you the bare facts. If you want to understand why a dynamic system behaves as it does, then you need to use nonlinear tools."
Perhaps the most important insight generated by these marriage models is that particular couples tend to have more than one style of emotional connection. In 1968, the theoretical biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy suggested that couples might have a homeostatic emotional set point, just as our metabolism regulates our weight around a particular set point. That metaphor has since been taken up by many family theorists. Mr. Gottman and his colleagues believe, however, that the metaphor of homeostasis is misleading, because couples tend to have multiple set points, not just one. "Volatile" couples, for example, tend to shift between highly positive and highly negative exchanges, without stopping in between on some neutral ground. "The concept of homeostasis doesn't easily describe the potential existence of sudden, catastrophic change," the authors write, "or any other 'bifurcations' in which the system has two possible paths it can take, depending on the critical threshold values of the parameters. So again we need mathematics." Moreover, says Mr. Gottman, "The mathematical model draws you to doing certain types of experiments that you wouldn't have thought of doing without the model."
Psychological applications of dynamic nonlinear models are quite rare, according to Steven H. Strogatz, a professor of theoretical and applied mechanics in the College of Engineering at Cornell University and the author of the new book Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order (Theia). "There's definitely a community of people out there who are interested in the interaction between two people as a dynamical system," he says, citing a recent mathematical study of psychotherapists and their patients. But on the whole, he continues, such studies still face skepticism.
"Biologists, who by definition don't like math -- they're people who like science but didn't want to study math, right? -- have been resistant to mathematical biology, and often wonder whether the equations give you anything more than a redescription of what you already knew from common sense. And so far, there are really only perhaps 10 clear-cut cases where the mathematical modeling has provided fundamentally new insights." But even if Mr. Gottman's nonlinear models never transform marital therapy, Mr. Strogatz says, they are likely to prove a useful exercise. "The mere fact of writing equations forces you to be clear about your hypotheses. With nonlinear modeling there's nothing hidden."
Mr. Gottman retired from the university last fall and has established an independent laboratory in Seattle called the Relationship Research Institute. For his next project, which he calls "bringing baby home," Mr. Gottman is studying the effects of newborns on married couples' emotional equilibriums. Because these models will involve three actors rather than two, he will be able to experiment with new mathematical tools. In a declaration that will probably come as no surprise to the families in his study, he says, "Adding the baby allows you to get into chaos theory." (artigo completo, clique aqui).

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