Psychology Wiki

{{psychology} Synergy or synergism (from the Greek synergos meaning working together, circa 1660) refers to the phenomenon in which two or more discrete influences or agents acting together create an effect greater than the sum of the effects each is able to create independently. The opposite of synergy is antagonism, the phenomenon where two agents in combination have an overall effect which is less than the sum of their individual effects. Synergism stems from the 1657 theological doctrine that human will cooperates with divine grace in regeneration. The term began to be used in the broader, non-theological, sense by 1925. In the 1960s it was first used to describe supposed economies of scale in business, reappearing in the 1990s as a common business buzzword. Synergy can also mean:

  • A mutually advantageous conjunction where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • A dynamic state in which combined action is favored over the sum of individual component actions.
  • Behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. More accurately known as emergent behavior[1]


Drug synergism occurs when drugs can interact in ways that enhance or magnify one or more effects, or side effects, of those drugs. This is sometimes exploited in combination preparations, such as Codeine mixed with Paracetamol to enhance the action of codeine as a pain reliever. This is often seen with recreational drugs, where 5-HTP, a Serotonin precursor often used as an antidepressant, is often used prior to, during, and shortly after recreational use of MDMA as it increases the "high" and decreases the "comedown" stages of MDMA use. Other examples include the use of Cannabis with LSD, where the active chemicals in cannabis enhance the hallucinatory experience of LSD-use, reducing the risk of a "bad trip".

An example of negative effects of synergy is if more than one depressant drug is used that affects the Central Nervous System (CNS), for example alcohol and Valium. The combination can cause a greater reaction than simply the sum of the individual effects of each drug if they were used separately. In this particular case, the most serious consequence of drug synergy is exaggerated respiratory depression, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Pest synergy, for example, would occur in a biological host organism population, where the introduction of parasite A may cause 10% fatalities of the individuals, and parasite B may also cause 10% loss. When both parasites are present, the losses are observed to be significantly greater than the expected 20%, and it is said that the parasites in combination have a synergistic effect. An example is beekeeping in North America where three foreign parasites of the honeybee, acarine mite, tracheal mite and the small hive beetle, all were introduced within a short period of time.

A consequence of pesticide use are health effects. During the registration of pesticides in the US exhaustive tests are performed to discern health effects on humans at various levels. A regulatory upper limit of presence in foods is then placed on this pesticide. As long as residues in the food stay below this regulatory level, health effects are indiscernible and the food is considered safe to consume.

However in normal agricultural practice it is rare to use only a single pesticide. During the production of a crop five or six different materials may be used. Each of them has had determined a regulatory level at which they would be considered individually safe.

Yet, since they have not ever been tested in combination, no data has ever been produced to show whether there is or is not a synergistic effect of the various combinations that humans consume. Some groups think that the rising rates of cancer, asthma and other health problems may be caused by this; others have other explanations. This question will likely be answered only after years of exposure by the population in general.

Human synergy relates to interacting humans. For example, if person A alone is too short to reach an apple on a tree and person B is too short as well. Once person B sits on the shoulders of person A, they are more than tall enough to reach the apple. In this example, the product of their synergy would be one apple. Another case would be two politicians. If each is able to gather one million votes on their own, but together they were able to appeal to 2.5 million voters, their synergy would have produced 500,000 votes.

Synergy usually arises when two persons with different complementary skills cooperate. The fundamental example is cooperation of men and women in a couple. In business, cooperation of people with organizational and technical skills happens very often. In general, the most common reason why people cooperate is that it brings a synergy. On the other hand, people tend to specialize just to be able to form groups with high synergy (see also division of labor and teamwork).

Corporate synergy occurs when corporations interact congruently. A corporate synergy refers to a financial benefit that a corporation expects to realize when it merges with or acquires another corporation. This type of synergy is a nearly ubiquitous feature of a corporate acquisition and is a negotiating point between the buyer and seller that impacts the final price both parties agree to. There are two distinct types of corporate synergies:

  • Revenue: a revenue synergy refers to the opportunity of a combined corporate entity to generate more revenue than its two predecessor standalone companies would be able to generate. For example, if company A sells product X through its sales force, company B sells product Y, and company A decides to buy company B then the new company could use each sales person to sell products X and Y thereby increasing the revenue that each sales person generates for the company.
  • Cost: a cost synergy refers to the opportunity of a combined corporate entity to reduce or eliminate expenses associated with running a business. Cost synergies are realized by eliminating positions that are viewed as duplicate within the merged entity. Examples include the head quarters office of one of the predecessor companies, certain executives, the human resources department, or other employees of the predecessor companies. This is related to the economic concept of Economies of Scale.

Computers and Humans

Synergy is the combination of human strengths and computer strengths. Computers can process data much faster than humans, but lack common sense. When a person uses a computer, the person’s thoughts are the input for the computer, where it is translated into efficient processing of large amounts of data. Other humans must first set up the methods for processing.

Synergy (media)

Synergy can be referred to in media context as items the media sell to make money from a product. An example of this could be a film. They sell products related to the film called synergy, such as film posters, toys, clothing and accessories. This is known as synergy because it is sold with the theme of the film. Sometimes these can make more money than the actual film made during production and sales. In recent years, many films make more money synergistically by selling DVDs.

synergy is the process by which a media institution tries to use its various products to sell one another (e.g. film and soundtrack and video game). For example, the Spiderman films had toys of webshooters and figures of the characters made as well as posters and games, these products can help advertise the film itself and thus help to increase the films sales.

External links

de:Synergie es:Sinergia fa:هم‌افزایی fr:Synergie io:Sinergio he:סינרגיה nl:Synergie ru:Синергия fi:Synergia uk:Синергетика

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).