Math Patterns Found in Some Human Behavior

BOSTON, June 1 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have found mathematical patterns in human preference behavior — a finding that may help in diagnosing psychiatric disorders.

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers said they found the mathematical patterns underlying the way individuals unconsciously distribute their preferences regarding approaching or avoiding objects in their environment. They said the patterns appear to meet the strict criteria used to determine whether something is a scientific law and, if confirmed in future studies, could potentially be used to guide diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.


“Law-like processes are important in science for their predictive value, and finding patterns in behavior that meet criteria for lawfulness is extremely rare,” said Dr. Hans Breiter, principal investigator of the MGH Phenotype Genotype Project in Addiction and Mood Disorders, who led the study. “The patterns we observed appear to describe the unconscious range of preference an individual has with a specificity suggestive of that of a fingerprint. We look forward to learning what other scientists find about these patterns.”

The study is detailed in the online journal PLoS One.

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