In epistemology, and more specifically, the sociology of knowledge, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect, especially as embedded in human belief structures. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a relationship in which neither can be assigned as causes or effects.

Within sociology more broadly—the field of origin—reflexivity means an act of self-reference where examination or action "bends back on", refers to, and affects the entity instigating the action or examination. It commonly refers to the capacity of an agent to recognize forces of socialization and alter their place in the social structure. A low level of reflexivity would result in an individual shaped largely by their environment (or "society"). A high level of social reflexivity would be defined by an individual shaping their own norms, tastes, politics, desires, and so on. This is similar to the notion of autonomy. (See also structure and agency and social mobility.)

Within economics, reflexivity refers to the self-reinforcing effect of market sentiment, whereby rising prices attract buyers whose actions drive prices higher still until the process becomes unsustainable. This is an instance of a positive feedback loop. The same process can operate in reverse leading to a catastrophic collapse in prices.

George Soros investing theory.

cf Wicked

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