My research focuses on the principles and mechanisms of human mutual understanding. Intuitively, humans understand one another because they share the same set of communicative signals such as words and gestures. However, that intuition neglects the extreme flexibility with which we employ our communicative signals in everyday social interaction. Neither can it account for our evolutionarily unique ability to instantly reach joint meaning of new signals in the first place. Our work is instead suggesting that human communicators share not signals but a fleeting cognitive space. This shared cognitive space provides context for selecting and interpreting communicative signals that can be mutually understood. The shared cognitive space is jointly coordinated and updated during social interaction, and that coordinated updating is altered in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I am also a member of the core team responsible for developing the FieldTrip toolbox for electrophysiological data analysis. As part of this open source project, we have recently developed and shared a human intracranial data analysis protocol that guides the researcher from the multitude of raw data files to integrated results in a transparent and reproducible way.


  • The first ECoG/sEEG FieldTrip bootcamp We’re hosting the first ECoG/sEEG FieldTrip bootcamp at the UC Davis Medical Center (Sacramento, California) on March 20-22. The workshop will consist of lectures and hands-on ...
    Posted Mar 14, 2019, 8:17 PM by Arjen Stolk
  • A novel cause for communication deficits in autism This work supports our working hypothesis that human communication is not simply an exchange of information using already known words and gestures, but a deeply interpersonal and innovative process that ...
    Posted Jan 31, 2019, 9:19 AM by Arjen Stolk
  • Frontiers for Young Minds Translation of a recent research finding published in a journal aimed at educating and enthusing kids for science. Made for and in collaboration with actual young minds, either in the ...
    Posted May 8, 2017, 10:16 AM by Arjen Stolk
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