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How do objects interact

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A wide question I know but just wondering what methods are used to get objects to interact with one another? I realise there are probably more than a few methods in common use today just wondering what the more widely used ones are. Also which methods are the most effecient and why.

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I make the main world object globally accessible, so all objects can send information to all other objects.

I also leave connections to parenting objects in child objects. Items have a pointer to their character, characters have a pointer to their layer, layers have a pointer to their map, etc.

And of course each parenting object has a list of it''s child objects, so that''s already established.

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