First Advisor

Robert M. Scheller

Date of Publication

Winter 2-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science


Systems Science




Multiple criteria decision making, Decision making -- Computer simulation, Artificial intelligence, Multiagent systems, Heuristic algorithms



Physical Description

1 online resource (xvii, 297 pages)


Decision-related activities, such as bottom-up and top-down policy development, analysis, and planning, stand to benefit from the development and application of computer-based models that are capable of representing spatiotemporal social human behavior in local contexts. This is especially the case with our efforts to understand and search for ways to mitigate the context-specific effects of climate change, in which case such models need to include interacting social and ecological components. The development and application of such models has been significantly hindered by the challenges in designing artificial agents whose behavior is grounded in both empirical evidence and theory and in testing the ability of artificial agents to represent the behavior of real-world decision-makers. This dissertation advances our ability to develop such models by overcoming these challenges through the creation of: (a) three new frameworks, (b) two new methods, and (c) two new open-source modeling tools. The three new frameworks include: (a) the SOSIEL framework, which provides a theoretically-grounded blueprint for the development of a new generation of cognitive, multi-agent, and knowledge-based models that consist of agents empowered with cognitive architectures; (b) a new framework for analyzing the bounded rationality of decision-makers, which offers insight into and facilitates the analysis of the relationship between a decision situation and a decision-maker's decision; and (c) a new framework for analyzing the doubly-bounded rationality (DBR) of artificial agents, which does the same for the relationship between a decision situation and an artificial agent's decision. The two new methods include: (a) the SOSIEL method for acquiring and operationalizing decision-making knowledge, which advances our ability to acquire, process, and represent decision-making knowledge for cognitive, multi-agent, and knowledge-based models; and (b) the DBR method for testing the ability of artificial agents to represent human decision-making. The two open-source modeling tools include: (a) the SOSIEL platform, which is a cognitive, multi-agent, and knowledge-based platform for simulating human decision-making; and (b) an application of the platform as the SOSIEL Human Extension (SHE) to an existing forest-climate change model, called LANDIS-II, allowing for the analysis of co-evolutionary human-forest-climate interactions. To provide a context for examples and also guidelines for knowledge acquisition, the dissertation includes a case study of social-ecological interactions in an area of the Ukrainian Carpathians where LANDIS-II with SHE are currently being applied. As a result, this dissertation advances science by: (a) providing a theoretical foundation for and demonstrating the implementation of a next generation of models that are cognitive, multi-agent, and knowledge-based; and (b) providing a new perspective for understanding, analyzing, and testing the ability of artificial agents to represent human decision-making that is rooted in psychology.


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