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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Psychohistory  
  Branch of mathematics describes the behavior of human beings en masse.  

This is the definition of psychohistory in the novel.

PSYCHOHISTORY–...Gaal Dornick, using nonmathematical concepts, has defined psychohistory to be that branch of mathematics which deals with the reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli....

... Implicit in all these definitions is the assumption that the human conglomerate being dealt with is sufficiently large for valid statistical treatment. The necessary size of such a conglomerate may be determined by Seldon's First Theorem which ... A further necessary assumption is that the human conglomerate be itself unaware of psychohistoric analysis in order that its reactions be truly random ...

The basis of all valid psychohistory lies in the development of the Seldon Plan. Functions which exhibit properties congruent to those of such social and economic forces as ...

ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICA

From Foundation, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1951
Additional resources -

A person who studies and applies psychohistory is a psychohistorian.

Here is another quote, taken from the second book in the series, Foundation and Empire:

"The laws of history are as absolute at the laws of physics, and if the probabilities of error are greater, it is only because history does not deal with as many humans as physics does atoms, so that individual variations count for more."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Foundation
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Foundation
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

Psychohistory-related news articles:
  - Paul Krugman's Asimov Inspiration
  - TASC - DARPA's Psychohistory
  - Asimov's Psychohistory May Be Possible
  - Cliodynamics: Modeling Complex Societies Mathematically
  - Google And The Psychohistorians
  - Fast Entropy, PHE And Psychohistory
  - FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator And Psychohistory

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