||My interests revolve around two facts of behavior: it seeks outcomes, and it takes place in a context of constraints, embodied and environmental, dynamic and fixed. When we observe behavior, we observe the solution to a problem of how to assemble a great many degrees of freedom into the kind of thing that can affect a particular outcome, given the context of constraints.
My primary theoretical research has to do with the intentional, or outcome seeking quality of behavior. Psychologists often speak of goals in this context, but the common use of that term is too limiting, usually a product of conscious deliberation by a human mind, a desired outcome that mind has committed itself to achieve. But the outcome seeking quality of behavior is broader than what can be accounted for in human self-awareness and the ability to imagine. I seek to develop a theory of outcome seeking for all life.
I have two lines of empirical research currently. In one line, I examine the reaction times from a simple identification task with a more or less predictable sequence of identifications. The data reveal a bi-modal distribution of reaction times (slower and faster), implying two different modes. Presumably, these modes correspond to a) reacting to response cues or b) anticipating them. In many cases, participants switch from one mode to the other and sometimes back and forth, giving the impression of a changing attractor landscape. Using a cusp model of bi-stability, I have derived a set of predictions about the relationship between the stability of a mode (stay put in one or other or switch between them) and the fractal structure of reaction time variability. Results so far have been consistent with that model.
In my second line of research, I have participants coordinate hand movements in a force field using force feedback joysticks. Prior work in bi-manual coordination has illustrated that there are two stable modes, one where movements are symmetric with respect to muscle and skeletal structures, and one that is anti-symmetric, where those structures move in opposite directions—the former being more stable than the latter. With changes to the context of constraints, in this case a force field that breaks symmetry, how do participants reassemble their degrees of freedom to accomplish the coordination pattern?
- Frazier, P.A. & Turvey, M.T. (In Prep) Why Should Life Exhibit So Much Variety? I: “In this world, fluctuation is everything.”
- Frazier, P.A. & Turvey, M.T. (In Prep) Why Should Life Exhibit So Much Variety? II: The extremal variety principle and mechanisms of variety production.
- Fultot, F.F., Frazier, P.A., Turvey, M.T., & Carello, C. (2019) What is the proper function of the brain and nervous system? Ecological Psychology.
- Frazier, P.A. (2019) Neural resonance as a source of critical fluctuations. Poster presented at the International Conference for Perception and Action (ICPA) in Groningen, Netherlands.
- Frazier, P.A. (2019) On the cusp: Bistability and attractor strength predict reaction time Hurst exponents. Talk presented at the First Northeast Regional Conference on Complex Systems, Binghampton, NY.
- Frazier, P.A. (2018) The Goal Directed Life as Disruption/Reorganization Problem-Solving Dynamics. Talk presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
- Frazier, P.A. (2018) What Do (Biological) Complex Systems Want? Talk presented at the First Northeast Regional Conference on Complex Systems, Binghampton, NY.
- Frazier, P.A. (2017). Nervous System Evolution: Come for the Eats, Stay for the Beats. Talk presented at the International Conference for Perception and Action, Seoul, South Korea.
- Frazier, P.A. (2017). What We Talk About When We Talk About Goals. Talk presented at the International Conference for Perception and Action, Seoul, South Korea.
- Frazier, P.A. (2016). Noise and Poise: The Disruptive Effect of Considering a Contradictory Opinion. Poster presented at the International Society for Ecological Psychology America Conference at Clemson University.
- Snow, P. A. (2012). When Motivated To Scrutinize: When and How Do People Use Majority Size in Conformity Decisions? Lehigh University. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
- Packer, D. J., Aoki, J. T., & Frazier, P. A. (2012). On the advantages and disadvantages of a low resolution snapshot. [Review of Blumberg, H., Kent, M. V., Hare, P. M., & Davies, M. F. (2012). Small group research: Implications of peace psychology and conflict resolution. New York: Springer]. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology.
- Frazier, P. A., Packer, D. J. (2012). Conformity to a Competent Majority Leads to Less Competent Outcomes: Majority Size Serves as a Cue to Competence When Tracked Over Time. Poster presented at Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference in San Diego, California.
- Frazier, P. A. & Allen, J. P. (2011). In the Pursuit of Goals: An Interactivist Approach. Paper presented at the Interactivist Summer Institute in Syros, Greece.
- Snow, P. A. (2008). A brief introduction to inner-product spaces and orthonormal bases. Paper presented at the Pi Mu Epsilon regional conference, Youngstown, OH.