Mathematical Biology Seminar
Thursday, Nov 5 from 3 to 4 p.m.
Zoom Meeting ID: 917 7737 6704
School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs
University of Central Florida
Title: "Complexity, diversity, cognition and group problem solving ability"
Solving complex problems, whether related to biodiversity conservation, climate change, pandemic management, or reducing inequality, requires large scale collective action among diverse stakeholders to achieve a common goal. Research relevant to meeting this challenge must model the interaction of stakeholders with diverse cognitive tools, cognitive abilities, and the complexity of the problem faced by stakeholders to predict the success of collective action under multiple scenarios of social-ecological change. Here, we build a model from first principles of cognitive abilities, diversity, and social-environmental complexity to identify the sets of conditions under which groups most effectively engage in collective action and increase their problem solving ability. We then fit the model to small groups, U.S. States, and countries. The model illustrates the fundamental importance of understanding the interaction between cognitive abilities, diversity, and the complexity of social-environmental challenges faced by stakeholders today. Our results shed light on the ability of groups to solve complex problems and opens new avenues of research into the interrelationship between cognition, institutions and the environment in which they co-evolve.