Contracting elements and random walks

Alessandro Sisto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (SciVal)


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 [16]. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-114
Number of pages36
JournalJournal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik
Issue number742
Early online date10 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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