Notations for dynamics diagrams


The dynamics diagrams are drawn in the style of the System Dynamics causal loops diagram. Causal loops diagrams emphasize the causal relationships among things. By better understanding these relationships, we can gain insights to the dynamics involved. It also allow us to develop possible policy or remedies.

The sample diagram below illustrates the notations of causal loops diagrams:


  1. Words denote variables, values that can go up or down.
  2. Arrows denote causal relationships between variables.
  3. Arrows with "+" sign indicate positive correlation.
  4. Arrows with "-" sign indicate negative correlation.
  5. A closed loop of arrows form one causal loop.
  6. A loop with "-" sign indicates a balancing loop which stabilizes.
  7. A loop with "+" sign indicates a reinforcing loop which magnifies the values.

How to use these diagrams?

Studying the diagrams will help us understand the dynamics involved. For example, the purple loop above clearly illustrates a malicious cycle that can occur in an unhealthy state, when one's not doing the right thing. But when one's in a healthy state and doing the right thing, the purple loop can also explain why one's basic fear can be conquered.

Once we've gained the insight into the problem, we can begin to solve it by strengthening and weakening the effect of certain links. This can help us break through the unhealthy cycles and strengthen the healthy ones.


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