Information and Selforganization: A Unifying Approach and Applications

Hermann Haken*, Juval Portugali

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Selforganization is a process by which the interaction between the parts of a complex system gives rise to the spontaneous emergence of patterns, structures or functions. In this interaction the system elements exchange matter, energy and information. We focus our attention on the relations between selforganization and information in general and the way they are linked to cognitive processes in particular. We do so from the analytical and mathematical perspective of the “second foundation of synergetics” and its “synergetic computer” and with reference to several forms of information: Shannon’s information that deals with the quantity of a message irrespective of its meaning, semantic and pragmatic forms of information that deal with the meaning conveyed by messages and information adaptation that refers to the interplay between Shannon’s information and semantic or pragmatic information. We first elucidate the relations between selforganization and information theoretically and mathematically and then by means of specific case studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number197
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Ambivalent/hybrid images
  • Consciousness
  • Exploratory behavior
  • Order parameter
  • Pattern formation/recognition
  • Pragmatic and semantic information
  • Quasiattractors
  • Saccadic eye movements
  • Shannon information
  • Slaving principle
  • Synergetic computer
  • Synergetics
  • Urban dynamics


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