Elizabeth A. Hobson            

Contact Information
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Twitter: @HobsonEA
Skype: EAHobson
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Postdoctoral Fellow
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN USA

Starting July, 2016:
Postdoctoral Fellow
ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems
Santa Fe Institute & Arizona State University

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.

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.

Hobson research overview

Current & upcoming projects
I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee where I am developing methods to define, quantify, and compare aspects of social complexity across a wide range of species.

My Ph.D. research focused on sociality in a small parrot species (the monk parakeet). I expanded on several aspects of my dissertation work during a short-term postdoc position with Simon DeDeo (Indiana University & Santa Fe Institute). We investigated how individual actions such as aggression contribute to the formation of emergent global social properties such as rank in a dominance hierarchy. Now at NIMBioS, I am adapting these methods to detect the level of social knowledge in many different species in order to link social interaction patterns with group social complexity.


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.

Recent news & updates

May 2016: I presented an invited talk at the interdisciplinary symposium "Experiments and models of social networks" in Copenhagen, Denmark. May 2016: I presented an invited talk at the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University, in Aarhus Denmark. March 2016: Eleanor Brush visited me at NIMBioS to kick off a new project on recognition systems.

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.