I am interested in the study of small-group decision-making using agent-based simulation of models grounded in sociological social psychology. I am also interested in a particular kind of small-group decision-making: peer review.
I am currently head of the Junior Research Group POLISES which uses agent-based models to study intended and unintended effects of global policy instruments on the social-ecological resilience of smallholders. In this project, we focus on the impact of policies targeting climate risk in two common property regimes of pastoralists in Africa (Morocco and Kenya/Ethiopia).
On a conceptual level, I work in an international team of modellers, psychologists and natural scientists on adequate representations of human behaviour in agent-based models. Furthermore, I am interested in how to describe models in an appropriate and standardised manner to increase their comprehensibility and comparison.
Modeling land use change from smallholder agricultural intensification
Agricultural expansion in the rural tropics brings much needed economic and social development in developing countries. On the other hand, agricultural development can result in the clearing of biologically-diverse and carbon-rich forests. To achieve both development and conservation objectives, many government policies and initiatives support agricultural intensification, especially in smallholdings, as a way to increase crop production without expanding farmlands. However, little is understood regarding how different smallholders might respond to such investments for yield intensification. It is also unclear what factors might influence a smallholder’s land-use decision making process. In this proposed research, I will use a bottom-up approach to evaluate whether investments in yield intensification for smallholder farmers would really translate to sustainable land use in Indonesia. I will do so by combining socioeconomic and GIS data in an agent-based model (Land-Use Dynamic Simulator multi-agent simulation model). The outputs of my research will provide decision makers with new and contextualized information to assist them in designing agricultural policies to suit varying socioeconomic, geographic and environmental contexts.
Archaeological Simulation of Social Interactions, mainly between hunter gatherers societies.
I study small- and large-scale sustainable resource management using a variety of techniques including mathematical modeling, agent-based simulation, and Statistical Inference
In my research I focus on understanding human behaviour in group(s) as a part of a complex (social) system. My research can be characterised by the overall question: ‘How does group or collective behaviour arise or change given its social and physical context?‘ More specifically, I have engaged with: ‘How is (individual) human behaviour affected by being in a crowd?’, ‘Why do some groups (cooperatively) use their resources sustainably, whereas others do not?‘, ‘What is the role of (often implicit simplistic) assumptions regarding human behaviour for science and/or management?’
To address these questions, I use computational simulations to integrate and reflect synthesised knowledge from literature, empirics and experts. Models, simulation and data analysis are my tools for gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying such systems. More specifically, I work with agent-based modelling (ABM), simulation experiments and data analysis of large datasets. Apart from crowd modelling and social-ecological modelling, I also develop methodological tools to analyse social simulation data and combining ABM with other methods, such as behavioural experiments.
I have a backround in computer science, worked in natural resource management, and ended up with a PhD in Sustainability Sciences!
My interests are to explore aspects of sustainability, resilience, and adaptive management in social-ecological systems using agent-based models and other simulation models.