Elizabeth A. Hobson            


Postdoctoral Fellow
ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems
Santa Fe Institute & Arizona State University

Contact Information
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Twitter: @HobsonEA
Skype: EAHobson
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Summary of research interests & projects

I am a biologist who specializes in investigating questions about behavioral ecology, especially those that increase our understanding of animal social interactions. I use a combination of observational, experimental, computational and theoretical techniques to determine how the behavior of individuals leads to the formation of group-level social structures.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, where I am studying the evolution of animal sociality. My goal is to use rigorous comparative methods and an evolutionary perspective to discover ways in which the extreme sociality of some species emerged, through investigating what individuals understand about their social worlds and the strategies individuals use to balance the costs and benefits of social living.

Research Interests

Evolution of social structure and complex sociality, social network analysis, animal cognition, temporal dynamics of network structure, dominance hierarchies, social learning, fission-fusion dynamics.

Research Goals
Determine how and why animals structure social relationships, detect how feedback between interactions among individuals and emergent collective dynamics shape social behavior, and evaluate patterns in the evolution of social knowledge across species.

Hobson research overview


Upcoming events 

  • I will be presenting at the NAOC conference in August as part of the Network Theory in Ornithology symposium organized by Iris Levin and Dai Shizuka (my talk is Friday, 19 Aug, at 11:45).
  • Dai and I will also be co-teaching a pre-conference workshop called "Introduction to Network Analysis in R".

Recent news & updates

July 2016
  • My collaborator Dan Mønster visited SFI from the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University in Denmark to collaborate with me and Simon DeDeo. Our new project is off to a great start.
  • I presented preliminary results of my new project with Simon and Dan at a Research Jam at SFI.
  • My collaborator Eleanor Brush visited SFI and presented some of our recent results in her seminar talk. 
    May 2016
    • I traveled to Denmark to present two talks and collaborate with Simon DeDeo and Dan Mønster. I presented a talk at the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University called " Inferring strategies underlying conflict decisions in animal groups". We then traveled to Copenhagen for an interdisciplinary symposium called "Experiments and Models of Social Networks" sponsored by The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and the Interacting Minds Centre (IMC), Aarhus University, where I presented a talk called "Social knowledge underlying conflict decisions and assessment of rivals". What a great trip!
    • I attended the NIMBioS game theory tutorial and got to catch up with former office-mate Amiyaal Ilany. We spent a fun extra day after the tutorial scheming up new projects.