Persecution Complex

Imagine four mice sitting on the corners of a square. Each mouse begins to run towards its clockwise neighbour. What happens? This:

Four mice chasing each other

Four mice chasing each other

The mice spiral to the centre and meet, creating what are called pursuit curves. Now imagine eight mice on a square, four sitting on the corners, four sitting on the midpoints of the sides. Each mouse begins to run towards its clockwise neighbour. Now what happens? This:

Eight mice chasing each other

Eight mice chasing each other

But what happens if each of the eight mice begins to run towards its neighbour-but-one? Or its neighbour-but-two? And so on. The curves begin to get more complex:

square+midpoint+2

(Please open the following image in a new window if it fails to animate.)

square+midpoint+3

You can also make the mice run at different speeds or towards neighbours displaced by different amounts. As these variables change, so do the patterns traced by the mice:

• Continue reading: Persecution Complexified

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