Behavioural Economics: What is the Butterfly Effect?
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Last updated 7 Jan 2023
The Butterfly Effect is a phenomenon that refers to the idea that small, seemingly insignificant events can have large and unforeseen consequences over time. It is based on the idea that even the slightest changes to initial conditions in a complex system can lead to significantly different outcomes.
Here are a few examples of the Butterfly Effect:
- Weather and climate: A butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in Texas: This is a famous example of the Butterfly Effect, which suggests that a small event (such as a butterfly flapping its wings) can have far-reaching and unexpected consequences (such as a tornado).
- The stock market: A small change in the price of a single stock can have ripple effects throughout the entire market, potentially leading to significant changes in the value of other stocks and financial instruments.
- Climate change: Small changes in temperature or atmospheric conditions can have significant impacts on global weather patterns, leading to changes in climate and ecosystem functioning over time.
- Social networks: The Butterfly Effect can also be observed in social networks, where small changes in the behavior of a few individuals can lead to significant changes in the behavior of the entire network.