Joe Árvai

MSM Program Director

Joe Árvai is the Dana and David Dornsife Chair and a professor of psychology and biological sciences in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California. He also serves as the Director of USC’s Wrigley Institute for Environment and Sustainability. Within his own lab, he collaborates with post-doctoral scholars and graduate students, conducting research on intuitive decision-making in environmental issues and developing and testing tools to improve decision quality across environmental, social, and economic contexts.

In addition to his academic research, Joe has advised governmental bodies, businesses, and NGOs, impacting policy and public understanding of complex environmental issues. He currently serves as a science advisor to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and he is a former member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Environmental Change and Society. Joe’s research and scholarship focuses on enhancing decision quality by understanding intuitive human judgments in environmental contexts, benefiting a wide audience—from public and stakeholder groups to technical experts, business leaders, and policy-makers.

Joe’s initial training was in marine biology and oceanography, and he shifted to psychology for his PhD to explore how people assess risk and make decisions, specifically concerning environmental issues. He earned his PhD in risk and decision sciences from the University of British Columbia.