Isaac Asimov had fascinating ideas. One of them was his theory for predicting human behaviour using the simple rules of mathematics and science.

Let’s look at the molecules that make up water. When we apply enough heat to them, they react by transforming into steam. If wind were introduced to the millions of molecules in the air we breathe, they will move with the direction of the wind. From the scientific point of view, we can deduce how molecules will behave.

Now let’s look at a group of people in any situation. Introduce an idea to them and they will interact. Let’s say we apply the idea that white is ugly and black is beautiful. Or let’s say that first-world countries should part with their money and give it to third-world nations. The people-molecules will react and transform itself into a volatile group, moving either in the direction of, or away from the idea-leader.

In another application, let’s ask a group of educated people and a group of fishmongers, what they would do with money won at a lottery. I have not posed this question in a controlled situation, but I can imagine that the educated class would think of either philanthropic pursuits or wise investments, while the fishmongers would think of something else.

Based on the unwritten laws of human nature, a behaviour pattern will emerge. Human nature varies from one culture to another and should be considered, together with other factors such as religion, when predicting human behaviour.

Asimov termed his new science of social behaviour, psychohistory. Some educational institutions have called it econophysics or social cognitive neuroscience. But I believe stereotyping and racial profiling require a subtile consideration, and should neither be misused nor treated as a blanket description for a group of people.

Isaac Asimov