Seminar: Dr Lorien Jasny

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

4th November 2021, (Online, via Zoom) 12 pm UK, (1 pm CET, 2 pm EET) Dr Lorien Jasny, University of Exeter

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.

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