Professor and Cowan Chair in Human Social Dynamics

Mirta Galesic is Professor and Cowan Chair in Human Social Dynamics at the Santa Fe Institute, and Adjunct Researcher at the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany.

She studies how simple cognitive mechanisms interact with properties of the external environment to produce seemingly complex social phenomena.

In one line of research, she investigates how apparent cognitive biases in social judgments emerge as a product of the interplay of well-adapted minds and the statistical structure of social environments. In another, she studies how different combinations of search, stop, and decision rules for social learning perform in different social network structures. A third line of research examines the origins of humans’ uniquely profound cooperation. Mirta uses agent-based models to study how the increased value of group foraging in nutritionally poor and scarcely populated human habitats of Early Pleistocene might have promoted food sharing and other forms of cooperation.

She also studies risk and uncertainty in complex systems, in particular in financial, medical, and environmental domains. Related projects include developing a sampling framework for understanding uncertainty in environmental decisions, studying simple rules for financial decisions, and communicating medical risks to the general public by means of different information formats.

Mirta has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and co-edited a book. She received the 2013 Jane Beattie Award for Innovation in Decision Research from the European Association for Decision Making.