Dr. Nicole Sintov

Nicole Sintov
Assistant Professor of Behavior, Decision Making and Sustainability
469C Kottman Hall

Research keywords:
behavior change, decision making, processes of change, smart grid, power systems, human-computer interaction, technology adoption, wildlife security, wildlife crime, poaching, household consumption behavior


As an environmental psychologist, I view today’s most pressing environmental problems as products of human decision-making and behavior; changing behavior is therefore an essential element in creating a sustainable future for humankind. Broadly, my research focuses on intervening with human behavior and understanding the processes of behavior change. Blending perspectives and methodologies from the psychological, environmental, and information sciences, my primary research objectives are to:

(1) investigate human decision-making as it impacts environmental resource use;
(2) develop and test interventions to encourage pro-environmental behavior change; and
(3) understand the psychological processes that underlie change.

I pursue these objectives as they pertain to a variety of domain areas, including:

  • Energy use in buildings
  • The adoption and use of sustainable innovations (e.g., electric cars)
  • Climate change communication and activism   
  • Support for green energy policy
  • Wildlife security

The vast majority of my work is interdisciplinary, involving collaboration with experts from other field(s) to synthesize across two or more disciplines, leading to the establishment of new levels of discourse and integration of knowledge. I look forward to finding new collaborators going forward. Additionally, most of my work is conducted in the field, advancing understanding of how people change outside of the lab and in the real world.


(*denotes student I have mentored)

White, L., & Sintov, N. (2017). You are what you drive: Environmentalist and social innovator symbolism drive electric vehicle adoption intentions. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 99, 94-113. doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2017.03.008
Sintov, N.D., & Schultz, P.W. (2017). Making smart homes more sustainable with adjustable green defaults. Sustainability special issue on the Advent of Smart Homes, 9(4), doi:10.3390/su9040622

Schuitema, G., & Sintov, N. (2017). Should we quit our jobs? Challenges, barriers, and recommendations for interdisciplinary energy research. Energy Policy, 101, 246-250.
Sintov, N., *Kar, D., Nguyen, T., Fang, F., Hoffman, K., Lyet, A., & Tambe, M. (2017). Keeping it real: Using real-world problems to teach AI to Diverse Audiences. Artificial Intelligence Magazine.

Schuitema, G., & Sintov, N. (2017). Should we quit our jobs? Challenges, barriers, and recommendations for interdisciplinary energy research. Energy Policy, 101, 246-250.

*Chen, B., & Sintov, N.D. (2016). Bridging the gap between technology adoption and protecting natural resources: Predicting intentions to adopt energy management technologies in California. Energy Research and Social Science, 22, 210-223.

*Merrill, R. & Sintov, N.D. (2016). An affinity to commons model of public support for clean energy policy. Energy Policy, 99, 88-99.

Sintov, N.D., Dux, E., *Tran, A., & Orosz, M. (2016). What goes on behind closed doors? How college dormitory residents change to save energy during a competition-based energy reduction intervention. International Journal for Sustainability in Higher Education, 17, 451-470.

Konis, K., Orosz, M., & Sintov, N. (2016). A window into occupant-driven energy outcomes: leveraging sub-metering infrastructure to examine psychosocial factors driving long-term outcomes of short-term competition-based energy interventions. Journal of Energy & Buildings, doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.01.005

Sintov, N.D. & Schultz, P.W. (2015). Unlocking the potential of smart grid technologies with behavioral science. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00410

Kwac, J., Tan, C.-W., Sintov, N., Flora, J., & Rajagopal, R. (2013). Utility customer segmentation based on smart meter data: Empirical study. Proceedings of the IEEE SmartGrid Comm meeting (pp. 720-725).

Sintov, N.D., Desario, G., & Prescott, C.A. (2010). Effectiveness of a Web-based Intervention in Promoting Energy Conservation in a University Residential Setting. The climate for energy efficiency is now (pp.7-322 – 7-336). Washington, DC: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

Sintov, N., *Kar, D., Nguyen, T., Fang, F., Hoffman, K., Lyet, A., & Tambe, M. (2016). From the lab to the classroom and beyond: Extending a Game-Based Research Platform for Teaching AI to Diverse Audiences. Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence 6th Symposium on Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence.

*Kar, D., Fang, F., Delle Fave, F. M., Sintov, N., Tambe, M., and Lyet, A. (2016). Comparing Human Behavior Models in Repeated Stackelberg Security Games: An Extended Study. Journal of Artificial Intelligence, 240, 65-103. doi.org/10.1016/j.artint.2016.08.002

Fang, F., Nguyen, T., *Ford, B., Sintov, N., & Tambe, M. (2015). Introduction to Green Security Games. Proceedings of the 24th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) Workshop on Cognitive Knowledge Acquisition and Applications.

*Kar, D., Fang, F., Delle Fave, F. M., Sintov, N., & Tambe, M. (2015). A game of thrones: When human behavior models compete in repeated stackelberg security games. Proceedings of the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS).

*Kar, D., Fang, F., Delle Fave, F. M., Sintov, N., Tambe, M., & van Wissen, A. (2015). Effectiveness of Probability Perception Modeling and Defender Strategy Generation Algorithms in Repeated Stackelberg Games. Proceedings of the 29th annual Conference for the Advancement  of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).