SESAM Research Group


Description
Brief description
This research group is led by Prof. Dr. Andreas Ernst . The group pursues basic and applied research on human-environment interaction with the aim to support strategies for sustainable development. On the basis of empirical studies, models of environmental knowledge, perception and behavior in social and environmental contexts are built. The models are validated and refined using e.g. computer simulations. At present, projects are carried through in the following areas: investigation of the drinking water use in the upper Danube area - life styles, nature conservation, and behavioral innovation - environmental justice and vulnerability - computer supported learning of dealing with complexity - tools of agent based modeling.

Aims
While there exist numerous, but often isolated models of the natural science aspects of environmental processes, there is a lack of predictive process models of the anthropogenic drivers of environmental change. Correspondingly, there are only few integrated models, i.e. models describing the behavioral as well as the natural processes in a unified way. This observation is taken as a starting point for the SESAM research group. Our aim is to fit effectively behavioral science results of different grain size into integrated models, and thus to enhance their predictive validity. Our research on the interaction between humans and the environment includes environmental perception, environmental behavior and the distribution of resources with the related conflicts. Associated topics are: decision making under uncertainty, risk perception, dealing with complex systems, commons dilemmas, vulnerability, the diffusion of environmentally relevant attitudes and behavior, theories of justice, conflict resolution, time and risk preferences. This is complemented by analyses of societal dynamics and an attempt at unifying actor centered concepts with the description of collective and societal systems. Our methods include the production of data based text models, the production of empirically grounded computer simulations as part of interdisciplinary integrated tools. These integrated models are aimed at producing valid scenarios to estimate the degrees of freedom for future action and the effects of interventions. So-called agent-based models are used as one of our modeling methods. They explicitly represent the decision makers (i.e. individual, corporate or political actors) as the unit of analysis. This modeling approach is complemented by concepts of artificial intelligence. Agent-based models can be seen as a unifying interdisciplinary method in the behavioral sciences. In addition, work in the SESAM group is aimed at fostering the methodological competencies within a behavioral science orientation at our center.



Publications

2019
2019
2019
2018
2018
2015
2012

Last updated on 2019-24-05 at 10:26