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 an invited talk at the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan in April as part of their complexity symposium.

Recent news & updates

January 2017
November 2016
  • My collaborators Alejandro Salinas-Melgoza (U. Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo) and Grace Smith Vidaurre (New Mexico State U.) visited me at SFI. We worked on setting up the foundation for a long-term project on various aspects of monk parakeets as invasive/nonnative species. Grace will be conducting fieldwork in Uruguay in 2017 as a Fulbright scholar, and working to quantify and describe monk parakeet behaviors in the wild in the native range. Please visit experiment.com if you'd like to help support her work.
August 2016
  • I presented results of a fun side-project at the NAOC conference in a talk called "Socio-ecological inter-specific association networks: disentangling drivers of species association patterns in mixed species parrot flocks" in collaboration with Don Brightsmith. My talk was part of the Network Theory in Ornithology symposium organized by Iris Levin and Dai Shizuka.
  • I also worked with Dai to co-teach a full day pre-conference workshop called "Introduction to Network Analysis in R".