Our research focuses on intentional joint action: We investigate the cognitive mechanisms underlying seemingly easy everyday behaviors such as moving a couch with someone else, shaking hands or clapping together after a concert. This interest extends into domains like musical ensemble coordination, team sports, action understanding, human-robot interaction and sense of agency. More recently, a focus has become studying links between action coordination and (non-verbal) communication and, since joining a Carlsberg-funded project at the intersection of arts and science, the transfer of research from the lab into museum contexts.
We are based at the Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics at the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University in Denmark. We are also connected to the Interacting Minds Centre.
Associate professor in Cognitive Science and Cognitive Semiotics
+++ News +++
08/12/2020 New publication by Laura Schmitz, Günther Knoblich, Ophelia Deroy, and myself: "Crossmodal correspondences as common ground for joint action" Our empirical data were collected during Tate Exchange in London.
28/10/2020 Two new publications within a couple of days! First, Simily Sabu, Arianna Curioni, myself, Natalie Sebanz, and Günther Knoblich ask "How does a partner’s motor variability affect joint action?" Second, Helena Miton, Thomas Wolf, myself, Günther Knoblich, and Dan Sperber examine how "Motor constraints influence cultural evolution of rhythm"
21/10/2020 "Our World in Colors", designed together with Cognitive Science students and colleagues from EER, is running at Dokk 1 in Aarhus now. We are looking into the individual and social nature of colors in a novel art-science-installation. More info to come on the EER website.
03/09/2020 After working for 1.5 years with colleagues from Philosophy, Linguistics, Religion, and Cognitive Science on its organization, the new bachelor supplementary program in Social Minds kicked off at Aarhus University this week!
01/07/2020 weused.to has a new mode: aesthetically pleasing and based on topic modeling using Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools. Try it by clicking on the 'Drift' button in the upper corner!
See here for past news
Crossmodal correspondences as common ground for joint action
Schmitz, L., Knoblich, G., Deroy, O., & Vesper, C. (2021). Crossmodal correspondences as common ground for joint action. Acta Psychologica, 212, 103222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2020.103222
"Here, we suggest that people rely on yet another form of common ground, one that originates in their similarities in multisensory processing. (...) Going beyond previous research that focused on investigating crossmodal correspondences in individuals, we propose that people can use these correspondences for communicating and coordinating with others."
Sunlight graffiti at Trapholt MuseumTrapholt Museum, Koldinng DK; December 2019
Fall Break topic "Nerds" at the science museumSteno Museet, Aarhus, DK; October 2019
Modulating action duration to establish non-conventional communication
Vesper, C., Schmitz, L., & Knoblich, G. (2017). Modulating action duration to establish non-conventional communication. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 164(12), 1722–1737. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000379
"Building on earlier work about sensorimotor communication, we hypothesized that Leaders would actively modulate the duration of their actions (...) Such communication should be especially relevant in cases where visual access between co-actors is constrained or unavailable."
Informing, Coordinating, and Performing: A Perspective on Functions of Sensorimotor Communication
Vesper, C., & Sevdalis, V. (2020). Informing, Coordinating, and Performing: A Perspective on Functions of Sensorimotor Communication. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 14. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2020.00168
"Depending on the social interaction context, sensorimotor communication can serve different functions. This article aims to disentangle three of these functions: (a) an informing function of body movements, to highlight action intentions for an observer; (b) a coordinating function of body movements, to facilitate real-time action prediction in joint action; and (c) a performing function of body movements, to elicit emotional or aesthetic experiences in an audience."
This is for you: social modulations of proximal vs. distal space in collaborative interactions
Rocca, R., Wallentin, M., Vesper, C., & Tylén, K. (2019). This is for you: Social modulations of proximal vs. distal space in collaborative interaction. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51134-8
"Is near/far coding of space dynamically adapted to the position of a partner when space, objects, and action goals are shared?"
Reciprocal information flow and role distribution support joint action coordinationCurioni, A., Vesper, C., Knoblich, G., & Sebanz, N. (2019). Reciprocal information flow and role distribution support joint action coordination. Cognition, 187, 21–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2019.02.006
"Our starting point is the important observation that the coordination tasks used in previous studies differ in one key aspect: the congruency of temporal and spatial coordination demands."
ZiF workshop on Measuring Charismatic ExpressionZiF, Bielefeld, Germany; July 2019
Combining Phase Advancement and Period Correction Explains Rushing during Joint Rhythmic Activities
Wolf, T., Vesper, C., Sebanz, N., Keller, P. E., & Knoblich, G. (2019). Combining Phase Advancement and Period Correction Explains Rushing during Joint Rhythmic Activities. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 9350. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45601-5
"When humans engage in synchronized, rhythmic joint activities, they tend to increase their pace unconsciously. (...) We argue that if joint rushing indeed emerges from human interaction in contrast to purely individual processes, then predominant models of inter-subjective sensorimotor synchronization are incomplete."
Moving Humans at the Tate Exchange Tate Modern, London, UK; June 2019
When Height Carries Weight: Communicating Hidden Object Properties for Joint Action
Schmitz, L., Vesper, C., Sebanz, N., & Knoblich, G. (2018). When Height Carries Weight: Communicating Hidden Object Properties for Joint Action. Cognitive Science, 42(6), 2021–2059. https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12638
"As there is no a priori reason to think that the flexibility of sensorimotor communication is limited, it is an open question whether its usage extends beyond the communication of spatial locations."