We define a new notion of contracting element of a group and we show that contracting elements coincide with hyperbolic elements in relatively hyperbolic groups, pseudo-Anosovs in mapping class groups, rank one isometries in groups acting properly on proper CAT.0/spaces, elements acting hyperbolically on the Bass-Serre tree in graph manifold groups.We also define a related notion of weakly contracting element, and show that those coincide with hyperbolic elements in groups acting acylindrically on hyperbolic spaces and with iwips in Out(Fn), n ≥ 3. We show that each weakly contracting element is contained in a hyperbolically embedded elementary subgroup, which allows us to answer a problem in . We prove that any simple random walk in a non-elementary finitely generated subgroup containing a (weakly) contracting element ends up in a non-(weakly-)contracting element with exponentially decaying probability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Mathematics