CoAct project

The group recently started a new project entitled “Communication in Action (CoAct)”, which was recently launched as part of an ERC Consolidator grant awarded to Judith Holler. The aim of this project is to identify visual patterns in multimodal signalling, as well as to investigate binding and prediction mechanisms underlying the processing of multimodal utterances during comprehension. The focus of investigation is on how people use their bodies in conjunction with speech to communicate specific intentions (speech acts/social actions) and how these are processed by recipients.

In all of this, we treat human language as a joint action, and as a situated, multimodal phenomenon shaped by the communicative intentions of the interacting agents.  In terms of methods, we use a mix of approaches, involving both quantitative corpus studies and experimentation, as well as empirical paradigms from psycholinguistics, neuroscience, psychology, and linguistics. In addition to traditional tools, we also use techniques such as Virtual Reality, motion capture and physiological measures.

The ultimate goal of the project is to arrive at a model that captures the behavioural, cognitive and neurobiological processes involved in intention communication during face-to-face conversational interaction.