causal loop diagram

A causal loop diagram is an abstract systems diagram. It is often the result of simplifying a correlation matrix by assuming some causal tendency. That is, they are preliminary sketches of causal hypotheses. Later, they enable essential components and interrelationships to be summarised:

In a causal loop diagram the influence of one variable on another is causality. It is a convenient way to represent principal feedback loops - related combinations of negative feedback and positive feedback - relevant to a particular domain or problem situation within that domain.

"A causal loop diagram does not distinguish between the nature of the interconnected variables. Arrows are used in a causal loop diagram to indicate direction of causal influences. Signs (+ or -) adjacent the arrows indicate polarity, that is, how a change in the variable at the tail of the arrow will produce a change at the head of the arrow." causal loop diagram as per Risk Management and Decision Making Glossary.''

Such diagrams are useful in documenting information flows, where causality can often be determined exactly. They are used this way in systems design and in domain analysis.