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Inter-ACT: A workshop on action and communication bridging psycholinguistics and social neuroscience

June 20

9.20 Introduction to the Workshop

9.30 Dr. Anna K. Kuhlen (Institute for Psychology, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany)

Neuro-cognitive studies on language production in shared task settings

Typically, people speak in the context of social interaction. Yet, surprisingly little is known about how the neuro-cognitive processes of language production are shaped by social interaction. I will present experiments that investigate language production in settings in which two speakers jointly name pictures and take turns speaking and listening. Starting point are behavioral experiments demonstrating that speakers seek lexical access not only for pictures they name themselves but also for pictures named by a task partner– which can cause interference when subsequently naming semantically related pictures. Based on these findings I will discuss electrophysiological (EEG) experiments that aim to specify the mechanism behind such partner-elicited interference. Lastly, I will present ongoing experiments that scale up joint picture naming to settings in which task partners speak to each other with communicative intentionality. In conclusion I will reflect on factors that may affect whether speaking is experienced as a joint activity.

10.20 Prof. Emily Cross (University of Glasgow, Scotland)

Perceiving and Interacting with Artificial Social Agents

Understanding how we perceive and interact with others is a core challenge of social cognition research. This challenge is poised to intensify in importance as the ubiquity of artificial intelligence and the presence of humanoid robots in society grows. My group’s research applies established theories and methods from psychology and neuroscience to questions concerning how people perceive, interact, and form relationships with robots. In this talk, I review recent evidence from behavioural and brain imaging studies that aim to provide deeper insights into the relationship between social cognition and brain function. Examples from work comparing social perception of humans compared to robots highlights the importance of examining how perception of and interaction with artificial agents in a social world is revealing fundamental insights about human social cognition.

11.10 Coffee break

11.30 Dr. Guillaume Dumas (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France)

Social Neuroscience of Human-Human and Human-Machine Interaction

How are neural, behavioural and social scales coordinated in real time so as to make possible the emergence of social cognition? Answering this question requires to study the dynamics of coordination in real human interactions. However, even at the simplest dyadic scale, methodological and theoretical challenges remain. First, we will see how situated social paradigms combined with brain recordings of multiple individuals simultaneously (hyperscanning) allowed demonstrating how states of interactional synchrony at the behavioural level correlate with the emergence of inter-individual synchronisation at the brain level. Then, we will discuss the Human Dynamic Clamp (HDC), a paradigm integrating equations of human motion at the neurobehavioral level in a virtual partner. Overall, we will discuss how combining human-human and human-machine interactions thus presents new approaches for investigating the neurobiological mechanisms of social interaction, and for testing theoretical/computational models concerning the dynamics at the neural, behavioural, and social scales.

12.20 General discussion

13.00 – 15.00 Lunch

15.00 Presentations of PhDs and Postdocs

15.30 Round table reserved to PhDs and Postdocs

17.00 End of the Workshop – Cheese and Wine




June 20
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Salle de conférences
5 avenue Pasteur
Aix-en-Provence, 13100 France
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