QUORUM SENSING 2)4)5)
A chemical signaling mechanism that bacteria use to find out if they are by themselves or one of a crowd (G. WATTS, 2003, p. 30)
More generally collective reaction threshold in a population signaling the onset of a common behavior.
It could very well be a fundamental condition of any socialized behavior. It seems to be the result of increasing density, the consequent reduction of interindividual distances and the increasing reciprocal perception of signals. These can be biochemical, physical, visual, or other.
J. MARCHANT reports an example observed by G. WEGRZYN on marine bacteria (2000, p.8)
WATTS explains: "Each individual secretes into the environment a low level of a certain chemical, for which it has suface receptors. The more bacteria that are around and pumping out this chemical, the higher its local concentration and the more the cell surface receptors are stimulated…
"The quorum" part of the name reflects the bacteria's need to be present in sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile to behave in a particular way, just as a political meeting needs to be quorate to take decisions. The decision bacteria need to make is whether or not to turn virulent"(p.30)
The somewhat metaphorical and anthropomorphic way to describe this process does not detract from its deep systemic significance: it amounts to the discovery at a very elemental biological level of the same process of socialization through density of interactions that also shows in ants, bees or locusts behavior. And of course, the appearance of a superior level of interactions through informations systems of various type in human kind is still another example of this very general process. Its systemic (and transdisciplinarian) meaning is obvious.
→ Co-orientation; Density (critical); Dictyostelium discoideum; Effects (mass-); Field (social); Flocking ; Herd effects; Implosion; Organizer; Overcrowding; Pheromone; Proximity; School; Stigmergy; Swarm
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- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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