Welcome to the sociomechanics project whose aim is to model social behaviour using ideas from Newtonian Mechanics. Using the system dynamics methodology of stocks, flows and feedback, concepts such as force, momentum and energy can give insight into the way people, and other social phenomena, behave over time.

For example, stock y exerts a force on stock x. Changes in y cause x to accelerate, that is derviate from uniform change. Read more ...

This website gives help on the Loop Impact Method and the Newtonian Interpretive Framework, both used in system dynamics and foundational to sociomechanics.

Loop Impact

The loop impact method determines which feedback loop dominates the behaviour of a stock. Loop impact measures the curvature in stock behaviour caused by a feedback loop.

Sometimes multiple loops are needed for dominance. The method includes exogenous influences.

Newtonian Framework

The Newtonian Interpretive Framework views the construction and behaviour of a system dynamics model using concepts from Newtonian Mechanics. Causal connections between stocks are seen as forces imparting acceleration in stock behaviour. Each force imparts energy into a stock so that each stock-flow subsystem is conserved.

Soft Variables

Soft variables are those that are difficult to quantify, even though they may be conceptually clear. For example, “confidence” in a manufacturer influences their sales, but it is not clear how confidence may be measured. Soft variables are common in social modelling.

This section will be included in the future.


  • Energy in System Dynamics Models

    Kinetic Energy Energy, a familiar concept in Newtonian mechanics, is a valuable way of describing behaviour in system dynamics models. For example,

  • Force and Impact

    In mechanics, force produces acceleration in an object. The same concept can be used in system dynamics to describe how any time-varying signal can

  • Balancing Loops: Growth and Decline

    Early on in a system dynamics (SD) course, it is usual for a learner to be introduced to two types of first-order balancing loops: one where the

  • Reinforcing Loops and Growth

    I have often seen the following causal loop used in system dynamics presentations to explain a reinforcing loop: Figure 1: Causal Loop Diagram of