Northwestern Events Calendar


WED@NICO WEBINAR: Lorien Jasny, University of Exeter

Lorien Jasny

When: Wednesday, February 24, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Meghan Stagl   847.491.2527

Group: Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings



Lorien Jasny, Lecturer in Political and Environmental Network Analysis, University of Exeter


Can conversation change minds: applying mental models to the UC Davis Adaptive Rangeland Management study


This project combines networks of mental models and conversation dynamics to understand collaboration and deliberation in a small group.  We brought interested stakeholders (ranchers, conservationists, and government rangeland managers) to visit a piece of UC Davis rangeland and develop a management strategy.  Prior to group discussion, we surveyed 4 groups of respondents (a homogenous group from each category of ranchers, conservationists, and government rangeland managers as well as one mixed group) about the management decisions they would make.  In particular, we were interested in how these respondents linked the methods they would use to the goals they set.  We thus have bipartite networks for each individual respondent where the tie indicates that a given method should be used to achieve a given goal.  After the group discussion, we then asked each individual to make any changes they felt were appropriate to their network of responses about goals and methods that they had given before discussion.  We use Butts’ Informant Accuracy Model (2003) to look at the cultural consensus within groups and compare it to change over time. We find the most change in linkages between goals and methods (rather than new goals and methods), and we find in all cases that individuals do indeed change to be more like the rest of the group.

Speaker Bio:

Lorien Jasny is a computational social scientist in the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter. Her work focuses on questions of public involvement and engagement in environmental decision making. In my research I explore two related themes – how the structure and dynamics of inter-organizational networks affect policy change, and how the structure and dynamics of belief networks affect behavioral change. Substantively, she studies how people try to bring about societal change in response to political and environmental concerns. Methodologically, the need to grapple with these often complex phenomena requires the use and development of techniques for handling large, dynamic, and relational datasets.


Video of this talk can be found on our YouTube Channel.

About the Speaker Series:

Wednesdays@NICO is a vibrant weekly seminar series focusing broadly on the topics of complex systems and data science. It brings together attendees ranging from graduate students to senior faculty who span all of the schools across Northwestern, from applied math to sociology to biology and every discipline in-between. Please visit: for information on future speakers.

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