AskDefine | Define interaction

Dictionary Definition



1 a mutual or reciprocal action; interacting
2 (physics) the transfer of energy between elementary particles or between an elementary particle and a field or between fields; mediated by gauge bosons [syn: fundamental interaction]

User Contributed Dictionary




inter- + action


  1. the act of some things interacting, or acting upon one another.
    Be aware of interactions between different medications.
  2. A conversation or exchange between people.
    I enjoyed the interaction with a bunch of like-minded people.


the act of some things interacting, or acting upon one another
A conversation or exchange between people



Maybe from or inter- + action


fr-noun f

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as opposed to a one-way causal effect. A closely related term is interconnectivity, which deals with the interactions of interactions within systems: combinations of many simple interactions can lead to surprising emergent phenomena. Interaction has different tailored meanings in various sciences. All systems are related and interdependent. Every action has a consequence.
Casual examples of interaction outside of science include:
  • communication of any sort, for example two or more people talking to each other, or communication among groups, organisations, nations or states: trade, migration, foreign relations, transportation,
  • the feedback during the operation of machines such as a computer or tool, for example the interaction between a driver and the position of his or her car on the road: by steering the driver influences this position, by observation this information returns to the driver.

Chemistry and medicine

In medicine, most medications can be safely used with other medicines, but particular combinations of medicines need to be monitored for interactions, often by the pharmacist. In molecular biology, the knowledge on gene/protein interaction among themselves and with their metabolites is referred to as molecular pathways.
Interactions between medications (drug interactions) fall generally into one of two main categories:
  1. pharmacodynamic : Involving the actions of the two interacting drugs.
  2. pharmacokinetic : Involving the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of one or both of the interacting drugs upon the other.
In terms of efficacy, there can be three types of interactions between medications: additive, synergistic, and antagonistic. Additive interaction means the effect of two chemicals is equal to the sum of the effect of the two chemicals taken separately. This is usually due to the two chemicals acting on the body in the same way. Examples would be Aspirin and Motrin, Alcohol and Depressant, Tranquilizer and Painkiller. Synergistic interaction means that the effect of two chemicals taken together is greater than the sum of their separate effect at the same doses. An example is Pesticide and Fertilizer, the biological effect is devastating. Antagonistic interaction means that the effect of two chemicals is actually less than the sum of the effect of the two drugs taken independently of each other. This is because the second chemical increases the excretion of the first, or even directly blocks its toxic actions. Antagonism forms the basis for antidotes of poisonings. An example is Asparagus and birth control pills.


In communications, interactive communication occurs when sources take turns transmitting messages between one another. This should be distinguished from transactive communication, in which sources transmit messages simultaneously. Included in this category are all new modes of communication such as cable video, teletext, videotext, teleshopping, video on demand, computers, Internet, tele-conferencing etc. Tele-communication also falls under this category. so cell phones, pagers, mobile phones, and electronic mail are interactive communications. these can be classified under three headings:
  1. Interpersonal : Telephone and its allied services.
  2. Group : Tele-conference. video-conference.
  3. Mass : Internet, world wide web

Media art

In media, interactivity is a feature of the media in question and as digital technology becomes more accessible to the masses interest in interactivity is increasing and becoming a cultural trend especially in the arts.


In physics, an interaction or force specifically refers to the action of one physical object upon another and results in a potential energy - the physical objects under consideration may range from point particles to quantum fields. For example, the interaction of charged particles takes place through the mediation of electromagnetic fields, whereas beta decay occurs by means of the weak interaction. There are believed to be four fundamental interactions in Nature.


In sociology, social interaction is a dynamic, changing sequence of social actions between individuals (or groups) who modify their actions and reactions due to the actions by their interaction partner(s). Social interactions can be differentiated into accidental, repeated, regular, and regulated. Social interactions form the basis for social relations.


In statistics, an interaction is a term in a statistical model in which the effect of two, or more, variables is not simply additive.

An example from statistics applied to psychology

If the two variables were sex and premature birth we would describe any difference in scores between sexes as a main effect. Similarly any difference in scores of full term/premature birth would be described as a main effect. When describing the scores of one variable compared to the other this is describing the interaction, as the sets of scores are in effect different variables interacting with one another.

Genetic interactions

Geneticists work with a number of different genetic interaction modes to characterize how the combination of two mutations affect (or does not affect) the phenotype: noninteractive, synthetic, asynthetic, suppressive, epistatic, conditional, additive, single-nonmonotonic and double-nonmonotonic. Further characterizations is enhancement interaction and nonadditive interaction.
The word epistasis is also used for genetic interaction in some contexts.

See also


interaction in Arabic: تآثر
interaction in Czech: Interakce
interaction in Danish: Interaktion
interaction in German: Interaktion
interaction in Spanish: Interacción
interaction in Persian: برهم‌کنش
interaction in French: Interaction
interaction in Galician: Interacción
interaction in Croatian: Interakcionizam
interaction in Ido: Interago
interaction in Indonesian: Interaksi
interaction in Italian: Interazione
interaction in Hebrew: אינטרקציה
interaction in Japanese: 相互作用
interaction in Polish: Oddziaływanie
interaction in Portuguese: Interação
interaction in Simple English: Interaction
interaction in Finnish: Vuorovaikutus
interaction in Thai: ปฏิกิริยา

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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