Cognitive Abilities and Group Adaptability in Social Ecological Systems

Climate change, covid-19, biodiversity loss are all current collective action problems for which technological solution are not sufficient. Individuals and groups must come together and collaborate and coordinate their action in order to adapt to climate change, reduce the socio-economic and health effects of epidemics, or mitigate biodiversity loss. The ability of individuals to both, assess and analyze a specific issue, as well as collaborate within and across groups is fundamental for adapting to current and future issues. This project aims then to advance our understanding of the interdependencies between individual cognitive abilities (e.g., ability of ndividuals to represent complex sytems, communicate effectively and reduce conflict within and between groups with different values/beliefs and , social networks, rules, norms and strategies (e.g., institutional arrangements) devised and implemented to manage natural resources as well as the build and natural infrastructure. This project is a collaboration primarily with Jacob Freeman at Utah State and Thomas Coyle at the University of Texas San Antonio. The project was also featured on Access Utah on Utah Public Radio.

Associate Professor

My research interests relate to assessinig and analyzing dynamics of social ecological systems, common pool resources, resilence of coastal systems and the relationship between cognitive abilities and group adaptabilty to socio-economic, political and environmental changes