The ability to adapt and transform under changing condition and deep uncertainty is key for our future. Research relevant to assess adaptability and transformability under changing conditions must model the interaction of stakeholders with diverse cognitive capabilities and the complexity of the problem faced by stakeholders to predict the success of collective action in various contexts. Here, i will present the integration of behavioral experiments into a model of cognitive abilities, diversity, and socio-environmental complexity to identify the sets of conditions under which groups most effectively engage in collective action to solve governance problems. Then i will show how the relationship between different ways of learning, and social-ecological networks may affect the ability of a system to reduce the prevalence of disturbances. The models presented illustrate the fundamental importance of understanding the interaction between cognitive abilities, diversity, and the complexity of socio-environmental challenges faced by stakeholders today. The results shed light on the ability of groups to solve complex problems and open new avenues of research into the interrelationship between cognition, institutions, and the environments in which they co-evolve.
Department of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of Miami, FL, USA.