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The Mathematics of Behaviorby Earl Hunt
Synopses & Reviews
Mathematical thinking provides a clear, crisp way of defining problems. Our whole technology is based on it. What is less appreciated is that mathematical thinking can also be applied to problems in the social and behavioral sciences. This book illustrates how mathematics can be used to understand human and animal behavior, using examples in psychology, sociology, economics, ecology, and even marriage counseling.
The book is intended as an introduction to the use of mathematical thinking in the social and behavioral sciences. It has been modeled after successful books that do the same thing for the biological sciences. It should be of general interest to anyone who is interested in formal modeling in the social and behavioral science area. It should also be of interest to those who want to illustrate mathematical applications in their classes, but wish to get away from reliance on physical science and engineering examples.
This book is about using mathematics to think about how humans (and other animals) behave.
About the Author
Earl Hunt is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has written many articles and chapters in contributed volumes and was the past editor of Cognitive Psychology and Journal of Experimental Psychology. His books include Concept Learning: An Information Processing Problem (Wiley), Experiments in Induction (Academic Press), Artificial Intelligence (Academic Press), and Will We Be Smart Enough? (Sage Foundation) which won the William James Prize from the American Psychological Association in 1996. His most recent book is Thoughts on Thought (Erlbaum, 2002).
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Applying probability theory to problems in sociology and psychology; 3. From physics to perception; 4. When systems evolve over time; 5. Non-Linear and chaotic systems; 6. Defining rationality - personal and group decision making; 7. How to evaluate evidence; 8. Multidimensional scaling surveying the geography of the mind; 9. The mathematical models behind psychological testing; 10. How to know you asked a good question; 11. The construction of complexity: how simple rules make the complex organizations; 12. Connectionism: computation connects mind and brain; 13. L'Envoi; References; Index.
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