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65190027 a Cognitive and Social Perspective on the Study of Interactions Emerging Communication Studies in New Technologies and Pr

65190027 a Cognitive and Social Perspective on the Study of Interactions Emerging Communication Studies in New Technologies and Pr

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  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.5 Conclusions
  • 1.6 Acknowledgements
  • 1.7 References
  • 4 Interacting Socially through Embodied Action
  • 8 Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity
  • 13 The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity
  • 14 Joint Action in Music Performance


Emerging Communication
Studies in New Technologies and Practices in Communication
Emerging Communication publishes state-of-the-art papers that examine a broad range of issues in communication technology, theories, research, practices and applications. It presents the latest development in the field of traditional and computer-mediated communication with emphasis on novel technologies and theoretical work in this multidisciplinary area of pure and applied research. Since Emerging Communication seeks to be a general forum for advanced communication scholarship, it is especially interested in research whose significance crosses disciplinary and sub-field boundaries. Editors-in-Chief Giuseppe Riva, Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab., Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy Fabrizio Davide, TELECOM ITALIA Learning Services S.p.A., Rome, Italy Editorial Board Luigi Anolli, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy Cristina Botella, Universitat Jaume I, Castellon, Spain Martin Holmberg, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden Ingemar Lundström, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden Salvatore Nicosia, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy Brenda K. Wiederhold, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA, USA Luciano Gamberini, State University of Padua, Padua, Italy

Volume 10
Previously published in this series: Vol. 9. Vol. 8. Vol. 7. Vol. 6. Vol. 5. Vol. 4. Vol. 3. G. Riva, M.T. Anguera, B.K. Wiederhold and F. Mantovani (Eds.), From Communication to Presence R. Baldoni, G. Cortese, F. Davide and A. Melpignano (Eds.), Global Data Management L. Anolli, S. Duncan Jr., M.S. Magnusson and G. Riva (Eds.), The Hidden Structure of Interaction G. Riva, F. Vatalaro, F. Davide and M. Alcañiz (Eds.), Ambient Intelligence G. Riva, F. Davide and W.A. IJsselsteijn (Eds.), Being There V. Milutinović and F. Patricelli (Eds.), E-Business and E-Challenges L. Anolli, R. Ciceri and G. Riva (Eds.), Say Not to Say: New Perspectives on Miscommunication

ISSN 1566-7677

Enacting Intersubjectivity
A Cognitive and Social Perspective on the Study of Interactions

Edited by

Francesca Morganti
University of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy

Antonella Carassa
University of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland


Giuseppe Riva
Catholic University of Milan, Milano, Italy Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy

Amsterdam • Berlin • Oxford • Tokyo • Washington, DC

© 2008 The authors. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior written permission from the publisher. ISBN 978-1-58603-850-2 Library of Congress Control Number: 2008924571 Publisher IOS Press Nieuwe Hemweg 6B 1013 BG Amsterdam Netherlands fax: +31 20 687 0019 e-mail: order@iospress.nl Distributor in the UK and Ireland Gazelle Books Services Ltd. White Cross Mills Hightown Lancaster LA1 4XS United Kingdom fax: +44 1524 63232 e-mail: sales@gazellebooks.co.uk Distributor in the USA and Canada IOS Press, Inc. 4502 Rachael Manor Drive Fairfax, VA 22032 USA fax: +1 703 323 3668 e-mail: iosbooks@iospress.com

LEGAL NOTICE The publisher is not responsible for the use which might be made of the following information. PRINTED IN THE NETHERLANDS

Enacting Intersubjectivity F. Morganti et al. (Eds.) IOS Press, 2008 © 2008 The authors. All rights reserved.


Intersubjectivity is a central theoretical construct intersecting various disciplines. As a research field it is therefore characterised by its being the meeting point of areas and methodologies even very different from each other. In the history of science, when this sort of overlapping takes place, we witness the gradual emergence of ever more complex theoretical constructs, which can become the conceptual ground for building more general theories. On the other hand, the interest in the area of intersubjectivity arises from the growing awareness of the intrinsically relational nature of the human species, highlighted by numerous recent discoveries in various fields – e.g., neuropsychology, cognitive science, ethology – so much so that some scholars have coined for our species the term “ultra-social species”. The landscape of disciplines involving theoretical or experimental research pertaining to the area of intersubjectivity is vast: neuropsychology and neurosciences, consciousness, emotions, embodiment, the “relational” mind, sharing other people’s mind states, and more generally various areas of philosophy, ethology, general and evolutionary psychology, social and cultural psychology, clinical psychology and psychiatry, psychoanalysis. The intersubjectivity construct is therefore utilized on various levels, corresponding to the specific research areas. On one hand, this points to the power and fecundity of the construct; on the other it may be a source of problems – communication, interpretation, explanation and comparison problems – when the meeting involves disciplines that may have, and frequently inevitably do have, different theoretical presuppositions and research methodologies. It then becomes truly important – as wonderfully exemplified by this volume – to build opportunities for comparison and debate, i.e. “frontier territories” where the exchange needed for the growth of shared multidisciplinary knowledge takes place. Such a sharing is essential in order to build more general and more structured theories, whose “fallout” may support the creation or improvement of practical applications or more generally increase our understanding of complex phenomena pertaining to our species. The issue of practical application is particularly dear to me. When a student asks the Clinical Psychology professor what impact intersubjectivity research has on clinical practice, the answer is that it deals with concepts that are fundamental for the understanding of the therapeutic relationship. They are essential for building that relational field in which the sharing of meaning leading to the therapeutic alliance develops, the field supporting the client’s exploration of new ways of functioning and new ways of understanding him or herself in relationship with others. In some particular studies the concept of intersubjectivity has played a crucial role, e.g. the research about autism or that about attachment. But the most relevant aspect for clinical practice is that, when the therapist is aware of her own embodied and intersubjective nature, she will read differently the client’s narrative, the client’s relationship with her and her own relationship with the client. This applies also to ideas, constructs and relational modalities of the client. Also the thera-

but obviously also teachers.vi peutic techniques. This does not just concern the clinicians. will have a different meaning and will be more oriented toward viable solutions. Italy . Prof. Giorgio Rezzonico Full Professor of Clinical Psychology Director of the Postgraduate School in Psychiatry Faculty of Medicine and Surgery University of Milan-Bicocca Milan. can be of particular interest for a much larger public than the specialised readership. with its high and clear scientific character. a good theoretical model improves the use of therapeutic techniques and supports the growth of both self-knowledge and knowledge of the other. We need only be reminded of the complexity of the teacher-student relationship. and people operating in a group or institutional contexts or in the media. In fact. such as self-description and autobiography. trainers. For this reason the present volume. by also exploring the frontiers and perspectives of related disciplinary areas. or of the role of an actor in film or theatre. Generally speaking a better understanding of interactive mechanisms can benefit all those who are active in social contexts by providing new and useful conceptual tools.

In Section III the authors focus their attention on aspects of the cognitive architecture. Section IV responds to our wish to include studies showing how the human capacity to create an intersubjective space is enacted in ongoing interactions. such as perception and understanding of the actions of others. Intersubjectivity is enacted for example. Striving to achieve a unified theoretical framework. neuroscientific results and experimental data offered by developmental and comparative psychology. are presented. imitation or participation in co-operative activities. its development and its role in situated joint activities. the inclusion of the contributions in one particular section rather than in another could not be made on the basis of clear-cut criteria: each chapter is grounded on an explicit theoretical framework and frequently incorporates wideranging reflections on the adopted perspective. Forms of Intersubjectivity Section IV. namely the “mutual sharing of experiences”. when a number of individuals participate to a particular joint activity which requires a specific expertise: when they play a sym- . self-recognition and self-reflection. conceptual analysis. Section II. conceived of as a basic dimension of consciousness on which socialness is grounded. At the very heart of contemporary studies is an intense debate around some central questions that concern the nature and forms of human intersubjectivity. The book aims to give a general overview of this relevant and innovative area of research by bringing together seventeen contributions by eminent scholars who address the more relevant issues in the field. Theoretical models and experimental studies concerning the central issues of the research area. The book is organized into four main Sections: Section I. Enacting Intersubjectivity Section I introduces the study of intersubjectivity. outlining the research areas which are involved and can contribute in delineating a multidisciplinary view to the study of interactions.vii INTRODUCTION In recent years a new trend in socio-cognitive research investigates into the mental capacities that allow humans to relate to each other and to engage in social interactions. with the aim to understand which socio-cognitive skills are at the hearth of human interaction. concepts to be refined and lesser explored features of intersubjectivity. Section II comprehends the essays aimed at outlining and discussing different perspectives which can be considered in the study of intersubjectivity. these studies are characterized by a strong interdisciplinary approach founded on philosophical accounts. self-other distinction. with a focus on conceptual and methodological aspects. Bringing forward Intersubjectivity Perspectives on Intersubjectivity Section III. Obviously. One of the mainstream is the study of intersubjectivity. Space is given to open questions.

connecting coordination with meaning-generation. will bridge the gap between two separate research traditions. They argue that the present debate about the human ability to declaratively point and the absence of this ability in other great apes. In their view. disembodied information-processing approaches to intersubjectivity in socio-cognitive research with more recent embodied approaches. give rise to conceptual and methodological problems that interfere with the interpretation of data and the construction of valid theories. in particular the primates’ ability to point. Following this line of thought we have ventured to include essays which refer to situations which are specific under other dimensions: in this case the problem can be to understand. The opening Chapter in Section II by Corrado Sinigaglia contrasts the standard view that we understand the behaviors of others because we are able to read their mental states such as intentions. In Chapter 4. David Leavens. contributes to the enrichment of the dialogue between cognitive science individualistic approaches on social cognition and social science approaches which are instead uniquely focussed on interactional behaviour. beliefs and desires and develops a motor approach to intentionality based on neuroscience results regarding mirror-neurons. perform a choreographed dance or a piece of theatre. theoretically and neurophysiologically grounded framework. Noah Susswein and Tyler Wereha in Chapter 5 addresses some conceptual and methodological issues in the investigation of primate intersubjectivity. Jessica Lindblom and Tom Ziemke contrast traditional.viii phony. He shows how this approach may constitute the way to rethinking the basis and the development of intentional understanding within a unitary. . The starting point of the book is the Chapter by Francesca Morganti where she provides an account of the disciplines involved in research on intersubjectivity. social cognition and cognitive neuroscience. the kind of interpersonal relationship and emotional exchange. the subjective experience which can take place when people with particular diseases are immersed in everyday life events. We will now give a brief guided tour through the contents of the chapters. Their concept of participatory sense-making. for example. showing how this object of study can be derived from the cross-fertilization among situated cognitive science. Starting from the question “What is a social interaction?” the article by Hanne De Jaegher and Ezequiel Di Paolo presents an enactive approach aimed at integrating individual cognition and the interaction process in order to arrive at new and more parsimonious explanations of social understanding. the conception of the mind as an inner entity that is logically distinct from activity and cultural surroundings rearing history and so forth. Looking to future research. Different notions of embodiment and their role in cognition and social interaction are clarified and a theoretical discussion on the function of the body in social interaction is conducted. rests on problematic ideas about the nature of meaning and mind. integrating a broad range of theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence from the different disciplines involved in intersubjectivity research. that of cognitive science mostly centered on individual capacities and that of social sciences exclusively focused on interactional behaviour. It is also enacted when a participant is co-operatively engaged in an experimental task. The contribution by Timothy Racine. we hope that more situated studies of individuals-in-interaction.

Marco Colombetti and Francesca Morganti contend that certain explanatory inadequacies of current models of intersubjectivity depend on failing to appreciate the fundamental role of normativity in collective intentionality. by Giuseppe Riva. This intersubjective enactment is illustrated with reference to layers of intersubjective attunement in ontogeny and with a focus on infant learning by altercentric participation in what the model is doing in face-to-face situation. Support fot this model is provided through an empirical study of adult-infant interaction in two species of great apes (chimpanzees and bonobos) and human beeings. In Chapter 11 Wolfgang Prinz gives a cognitive science perspective on social mirroring. Ingar Brinck and Mats Andrén offer a model of perceptual intersubjectivity (PI). Taking into account and discussing perspectives and evidences in cognitive neuroscience studies. the neurosocial support by an altercentric mirror system is indicated. In Section III different basic aspects of intersubjectivity are investigated. are proposed by the author. Jordan Zlatev.ix In Chapter 6 Maurizio Tirassa and Francesca Bosco outline a theory of agency and communication cast in a mentalistic and radically constructivistic framework and discuss the role that the capability to share plays in it. Varieties of social mirroring. described as “self-other distinction”. Chapter 12. it is argued that two basic requirements must be fulfilled. Basing their argument on Margaret Gilbert’s theory of plural subjects. Norbert Zmyj and Giza Aschersleben. the notion that the individuals come to perceive and understand themselves by understanding how their conduct is perceived. For social mirroring to work. The Chapter 9. by Moritz Daum. the author puts forward the hypothesis that the experience and representation of one’s body may underpin the distinction between the self and other agents. addresses the controversially discussed question of how infants’ abilities to perceive and understand goal-directed action is interrelated with their competence to perform the same behaviour. With the aim of contradicting results in studies on the development of this interrelation. In Chapter 10 Manos Tsakiris addresses the question of how the self can be distinguished from other people. received and understood by others. With reference to mirror neurons discovery. the chapter integrates various findings in recent studies investigating perception. arising from different modes of mirroring and different modes of communication. a functional one − the operation of representational devices with mirror-like properties – and a social one – the discourse and practices for using and exploiting mirrors within social interaction. regards the ability of infant and adults to imitatively re-enact what they have seen being done or co-enact what the companion is doing. the phenomenon of two or more subjects focusing their attention on the same external target. The final Chapter of Section II. In Chapter 13 Antonella Carassa. as if they were co-author of the model’s actions. production and imitation of goal-directed action and discusses them in the light of existing hypotheses and theories. . presents a conceptual framework that uses the concept of “Presence” – the feeling of being and acting in a world outside us” − to link the enaction of our intentions with the understanding of other people’s intentions. the authors try to show how the concept of joint commitment is a powerful tool in order to explain certain specific features of human joint activities and discuss some lines along which a psychology of plural subjects can be developed. In Chapter 8. by Stein Bråten.

that is the representation of the events during occlusion. We hope that the contents of this book will stimulate further integrated research on intersubjectivity allowing us to better understand the neurobiological foundations.x How intersubjectivity is enacted in interaction is the focus of Section IV. in the case of autism. To investigate if simulation. We are also grateful to Laura Carelli who volunteered to help the Editors in the complex editorial process that was involved in the preparation of the current book. cognitive architecture and social abilities which define human beings. In Chapter 16 Jonathan Cole refers to his extensive studies on the role of face in the constitution of self in relation to others and on the impact of this aspect on interpersonal relationship. an experimental paradigm is used that allows one to study the impact that features of unoccluded action segments make on the representation of occluded segments. The adopted socio-cultural framework and the analysis of a case-study material allow the author to show how intersubjectivity may be experienced differently depending on everyday situations and to develop the idea that cultural tools and social others often function to support late−emerging intersubjectivity during adolescence. The Editors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of a number of people and institutions without whose help this project could not have been carried out. The results suggest that action simulation is a creative process creating novel. In this sense. We acknowledge the European Community for grant given to Giuseppe Riva and Francesca Morganti for the FP6 project PASION (IST-2005-027654). In Chapter 15 Wolfgang Prinz and Gertrud Rapinett consider how participants engaged in a specific task enact their abilities to represent partially occluded actions. merely carries on old processes or initiates new ones. with a primary attention on first person data as expressed in narratives. Music performance is examined in Chapter 14 by Peter Keller. Francesca Morganti Antonella Carassa Giuseppe Riva . where the author explains how ensemble musicians coordinate their actions with remarkable precision. Finally Chapter 17 by Fran Hagstrom is aimed at theoretically exploring intersubjectivity when social development goes awry. focusing on the subjective experience of the person – in − interaction. invisible actions rather than extrapolating visible actions. the University of Lugano and the Catholic University of Milan for their support. His investigation is based on the idea of exploring the role of face by taking into account what happens when something goes wrong as in Moebious syndrome. his work can be characterized in terms of a “first person approach” to the study of consciousness. The main point of the chapter is to complement the neurodevelopmental view of autism as a cognitive disorder with an investigation into the individual developmental paths of intersubjectivity in everyday life. We would like to thank the Istituto Auxologico Italiano. Three cognitive processes which enable individuals to realize shared goals when engaged in musical joint action are illustrated and the way in which these processes interact to determine ensemble coordination is discussed.

Sweden Antonella CARASSA IPSC. Switzerland Department of Electronics and Informatics Polythecnic University of Milan. BOSCO Center for Cognitive Science University of Torino. Poole.xi CONTRIBUTORS Mats ANDRÉN Centre for Languages and Literature Lund University. Switzerland Jonathan COLE Department of Clinical Neurophysiology Poole Hospital. Italy . Germany Stein BRATEN Department of Sociology and Human Geography University of Oslo. Sweden Gisa ASCHERSLEBEN Department of Psychology Infant Cognition and Action Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. United Kingdom Marco COLOMBETTI Institute for Communication Technologies University of Lugano. Institute of Psychology and Sociology of Communication University of Lugano. Leipzig. Norway Francesca M. Italy Ingar BRINCK Department of Philosophy Lund University.

Germany David A. LEAVENS Department of Psychology University of Sussex. Milano. Falmer. United Kingdom Fran HAGSTROM Department of Rehabilitation. Leipzig. Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab Istituto Auxologico Italiano. Human Resources and Communication Disorders University of Arkansas. Department of Psychiatry University of Heidelberg. Germany Hanne DE JAEGHER Centre for Psychosocial Medicine. USA Peter KELLER Music Cognition & Action Group Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Switzerland ATN-P Lab. Germany . Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics University of Sussex. Leipzig. United Kingdom Jessica LINDBLOM School of Humanities and Informatics University of Skövde. Sweden Francesca MORGANTI IPSC. Germany CCNR. Leipzig.xii Moritz M. Arkansas. United Kingdom Ezequiel DI PAOLO CCNR. Italy Wolfgang PRINZ Department of Psychology Max Plank Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Fayetteville. DAUM Department of Psychology Infant Cognition and Action Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Institute of Psychology and Sociology of Communication University of Lugano. Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics University of Sussex.

WEREHA Department of Psychology Simon Fraser University. Milano. Burnaby. Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab Istituto Auxologico Italiano. British Columbia. Sweden . Burnaby. British Columbia. Canada Tom ZIEMKE School of Humanities and Informatics University of Skövde. Switzerland Giuseppe RIVA Department of Psychology Catholic University of Milan.xiii Timothy P. Burnaby. Milano. Italy Manos TSAKIRIS Department of Psychology Royal Holloway University of London. Italy ATN-P Lab. Canada Gertrude RAPINETT Department of General and Developmental Psychology University of Zurich. Italy Noah SUSSWEIN Department of Psychology Simon Fraser University. British Columbia. Canada Maurizio TIRASSA Center for Cognitive Science University of Torino. Italy Corrado SINIGAGLIA Department of Philosophy University of Milan. RACINE Department of Psychology Simon Fraser University. United Kingdom Tyler J.

xiv Jordan ZLATEV Centre for Languages and Literature Lund University. Germany . Sweden Norbert ZMYL Department of Psychology Infant Cognition and Action Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Leipzig.

Wereha On the Nature and Role of Intersubjectivity in Human Communication Maurizio Tirassa and Francesca Marina Bosco Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence Giuseppe Riva 17 xi vii v 3 Section II.xv CONTENTS Preface Giorgio Rezzonico Introduction Francesca Morganti. Ingar Brinck and Mats Andrén 117 Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation Supported by a Mirror System in Infant and Adult 133 Stein Braten . 33 49 Chapter 4. David A. Noah Susswein and Tyler J. Chapter 2. Chapter 1. Chapter 5. Leavens. Social Cognition and Neuroscience Francesca Morganti Perspectives on Intersubjectivity Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality Corrado Sinigaglia Making Sense in Participation: An Enactive Approach to Social Cognition Hanne De Jaegher and Ezequiel Di Paolo Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action Jessica Lindblom and Tom Ziemke Conceptual and Methodological Issues in the Investigation of Primate Intersubjectivity Timothy P. Racine. Antonella Carassa and Giuseppe Riva Contributors Section I. 81 97 Chapter 7. Bringing Forward Intersubjectivity What Intersubjectivity Affords: Paving the Way for a Dialogue Between Cognitive Science. Forms of Intersubjectivity Chapter 8. Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity Jordan Zlatev. 65 Chapter 6. Section III. Chapter 3. Chapter 9.

Lessons from Moebius Syndrome Jonathan Cole Chapter 17. Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control Moritz M. Keller Chapter 15. The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity Antonella Carassa. The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments Manos Tsakiris Chapter 11. Joint Action in Music Performance Peter E. Enacting Intersubjectivity Chapter 14. Daum. Mirror Games Wolfgang Prinz Chapter 12. The Role of the Face in Intersubjectivity. Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity Fran Hagstrom Author Index 149 165 175 187 205 223 237 251 261 . Norbert Zmyj and Gisa Aschersleben Chapter 13. Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action Wolfgang Prinz and Gertrude Rapinett Chapter 16.xvi Chapter 10. Marco Colombetti and Francesca Morganti Section IV. Emotional Communication and Emotional Experience.

1992 .Cowboy Mambo.SECTION I BRINGING FORWARD INTERSUBJECTIVITY I can't find my way around this table And I can't find my way around your face And I can't find my way around your body And wasted days turn into wasted nights Hey lookit me now! Hey lookit me now! Hey lookit me now now now now now now! Lookit me now! David Byrne .

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............... 13 ..7 Introduction.... 12 References................. 9 Conclusions...................... 5 Towards a cognitive perspective on the study of social interactions ......................................................... become neurobiologically plausible in research on mirror neurons.................................. 7 Towards a neuroscientific endorsement ........ probably under the impact of recent mirror neurons findings....... as a result..................) IOS Press... At the moment. the study of inter-subjectivity has laid the foundations for a constructive dialogue between these disciplines generating a common ground for the study of interpersonal relations.......... (Eds........Enacting Intersubjectivity F... it may legitimately be claimed that.... In particular..... Morganti et al....................3 1................. 4 Towards an enactive cognitive science ......1 1... All rights reserved... if we take this stance...... Social Cognition and Neuroscience Francesca MORGANTI Abstract.. 2008 © 2008 The authors.....................5 1............ and manage to shed new light on what social cognition has known for some time on the relation between human beings........................2 1....6 1.... 3 1 What Intersubjectivity Affords: Paving the Way for a Dialogue between Cognitive Science......... such as embodied cognition and enaction. there has been a convergence of theoretical thought and research in the cognitive sciences... one notices a gradual but significant coming together of disciplines whose research tradition used to be grounded in areas often far apart from each other.............................................. social cognition............ The past decade has witnessed a growing interest in the study of the self-other relation................................. Contents 1...................................... and the neurosciences......................... The present contribution aims to show that...... some concepts close to the situated cognitive sciences......................... albeit from different perspectives........... 10 Acknowledgements .........4 1.....................................

Intersubjectivity provides them with a primary forum for exchange. carrying with them significant research findings that the same disciplines have so far been unable to explain in full.4 F. On the other hand. on the one hand. the peculiar ability of human beings to live in this world. the neurosciences have continued to conduce research by themselves. their research on the functioning of neurons has sought principally to confirm or revisit the cognitive theories of mind functioning and. while now . we will look at the way a computational cognitive science has given way to the situated perspective of cognition which contemplates its embodied and enactive nature. have laid the foundations for a new form of dialogue. and their ability to act intentionally in the specific context that surrounds them [1]. and the neurosciences. i.1 Introduction Blossoming interest in the study of intersubjectivity has opened up new perspectives for cognitive and social research. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords 1. these finding shed new light on research projects that had long been focussing on the study of intersubjectivity [6-8]. At the same time. On the other hand. perhaps because of their kinship with medical-clinical fields rather than with to the humanities. these disciplines have been preparing the ground for convergence over the years. In paragraph 3 we will examine the shift from the merely representational study of a self-other understanding to an approach that is less related to mindreading in understanding the other’s intentions. in their latest research phases. and the neurosciences. equally authoritative disciplines stemming from the social sciences and psychology concerned with interpersonal relations [2] have highlighted the relationship dynamics that human beings are capable of when confronting their fellow beings. At the same time. Finally. Today. social sciences.e. Indeed. The picture that unfolded before the eyes of a scholar of the cognitive and/or social sciences until only a few years ago looked rather different from today’s. The following paragraphs will be devoted to showing how. The contribution made by these disciplines is complementary to the study of the relation. 5]. it has taken advantage of these studies to gain a fuller understanding of the cognitive significance of their discoveries [4. On the one hand. as they draw exclusively on resources available within their research areas. the study of the human mind had focused quite closely on the study of consciousness. the study of inter-subjectivity acts as a test-bed for the convergence of research interests enhanced by the triangulation between cognitive sciences. enabling them to extricate findings that have until now suffered from an excessively clear-cut modularity of research. by providing plausible and longawaited biological foundations to the study of the human relationship. social cognition. while disregarding the study of the cognitive functions that support these abilities. invested the self-other relation with a new wave of optimism by proposing a much longed-for biological plausibility to the studies on the simulation of action and identification with the other. the social theories [3]. in . In paragraph 2. The celebrated discovery of mirror neurons. It is only in the past ten years that new discoveries have been made substantially altering our perception: the emergence of social cognitive neurosciences as well as mirror neuron studies have laid sound foundations for a fruitful convergence of the cognitive sciences. on the neurobiological foundations of the cognitive nature of human beings. more marginally.

F. Rather. therefore. but closely tied with the body in which it dwells. it is the product of perception-action cycles where mind and world are constantly at play. and at that point the dichotomy was (albeit in part) set aside to make space for a more accurate study of the mind-world interaction. Starting from theoretical standpoints identifiable with a view of cognition as inseparable from its field of action. By contrast with a classical view of the cognitive sciences.2 Towards an enactive cognitive science It was only at the end of the last century that the scientific community began to greet with more warmth the study of human cognition as closely connected to action. A good description of this perspective may be found in studies on embodied cognition. it points to the dynamic building up of meaning as human beings tend to do while acting in a surrounding context. is capable of creating a progressive integration between the physical features of human beings and artifacts essentially on the basis of a continuous process of cultural mediation. and to the interaction with the context where agents are steeped.10]. The human mind. i. cognition is not the result of aggregation and organisation of noteworthy information from the outside world. Classical cognitive sciences have long promoted a modular view of cognition upholding the dichotomy between perception and action. The human mind. The context in which human beings happen to act. we may call it embodied. he claimed. we have more recently moved on to a conception of human cognition as associated with a potential for significant action and interaction with the world [11-16]. and adapt well to.e. indeed. on the other how the rise of social cognitive neuroscience and of mirror neuron studies have sown the seeds for a cross-fertilisation of disciplines. to create a dynamic. its surroundings through a continuous evolutionary process. widespread among the cognitive sciences [9. But what does it mean. from which it continues to acquire information on the world. a view of experience and cognition gradually takes shape that is closely linked not only to physical action. indeed. Then. From a strictly computational paradigm. is no longer something objective that they perceive and process creating firm images. 1. but at the same time represent species-specific opportunities for the agent that happens to use them. In short. meaningful relationship between mind and environment? As early as 1977 Gibson [13] stressed the need for an often disregarded theoretical shift: the objects of the world every time become affordances. within a situated view of the mind. new approaches were introduced that were more closely context-related. is not disembodied. Bateson [17] described the human mind as ecological. the way that human beings represent an environment is every time a function of the activities that they are performing or are about to perform within it. This shift has created a different vantage point for the study of cognition where interaction does more than just point to the single action in the world (or the sequence of more complex actions the user can perform through it). how the neurosciences have become less behavioural and much more cognitive over the years. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords 5 paragraph 4 we will try to illustrate two facts: on the one hand. but above all to corporeity as a cognitive medium. able to fit in with. .

It was Heidegger. The concept of enaction was introduced into cognitive science in 1991 by Varela. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords This is why thought needs the body’s mediation to arise. and executions of movements) with the context in which they happen to be each time. Merleau-Ponty himself. on the other. to explain how mental life relates to bodily activity in the form of embodied action. as we shall see. constantly interact with the context in which they live. it nonetheless opened up the field for extensive debate in philosophy as well as in the cognitive sciences. Human beings. species-specific affordances. There. but is . the frame of reference in which all our experiences take place. who developed a phenomenology in which human activity may be understood not as the result of representations of the world disconnected from their context. The continuity of their actions helps us establish a match between individuals (or better their intentions. It is not simply multisensory mediated knowledge. Enactive cognition unfolds through action and is constructed on motor skills. the world is not perceived in an undifferentiated manner. an interface allowing a merger between thought and the specific surrounding space. is not reducible to structures inside the head. As Lakoff and Johnson [18] pointed out. the body is. the main link between the mind and the world. on the one hand. This embodied and situated view of cognition. such as manipulating objects or practising a specific activity. stretches his view of embodied cognition to the extreme. and it is precisely to the body that it adapts. fundamental to the study of intersubjectivity may be associated to the definition of the concept of enaction. the definition of embodiment met with limited fields of application. in fact. The Embodied Mind. not so much as a collector of stimuli. but rather through the contextualised experience of a body-environment system. planning of complex actions. which is. these authors suggested a sensorimotor coupling between organisms and the environment in which they live that determines recurrent patterns of perception and action leading to the acquisition of knowledge. Until the twentieth century. but knowledge stored in the form of motor responses and acquired by the act of doing. Thompson & Rosch [21]. According to the enactive approach. Merleau-Ponty [20] provides us with a further example of phenomenology of the mind in which the role of embodiment is granted considerable weight. but rather providing as it does a stage for the enactment of a drama. Thus the body becomes an interface between the mind and the world.6 F. Merleau-Ponty maintains that the way in which human beings see physical objects is entirely conditioned by opportunities for interaction which the object itself offers to our body. Heidegger was the first to refer explicitly to the importance of the body for human thought [19]. It is precisely and only through the activity that men do in the world that men are able to determine what experience of this same world means. that this philosophical belief has had a significant impact on the theory of perception later to be developed by Gibson [13]. in other words. then. in fact. the human mind is embodied in our organism. through our senses. In their book. claiming that the body is the medium with which human beings can encompass the world in its totality. but supplies living beings with opportunities for action. in this respect. indeed. Actors and world thus end up being inseparably connected and reciprocally adaptable. Let us observe. preserving in such situation an uninterrupted thread of activities which they carry out entirely by themselves. the body becomes. Among twentieth-century philosophers. in fact.

In particular. inasmuch as significant interaction. Among them. others have been conducted under the Theory of Mind heading. Discussions of theory of mind are dominated by two main approaches: theory theory and simulation theory. does so with a physically and culturally more complex context. To do so. The development of such approach requires a common vision between situated and embodied cognition. and interrelates with. because it is gained through perception-action interaction in the environment. In rejecting the Cartesian mind-body dichotomy (in which there is a mental and a physical way to acquire knowledge. Common to different versions of theory theory is the idea that humans attain their understanding of other minds by implicitly postulating the existence of mental states in others and using such postulations to explain and predict another person’s behaviour [34]. social cognition research helps us understand both individual cognition and collective activity integrating the cognitive modelling approach (according to which beliefs are formed by and drive behaviour) with social studies (according to which behaviour is determined by relationships and informal practices). Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords 7 embedded in the world with which we interact [22]. Moreover. enactive knowledge is inherently multimodal because it requires the coordination of the various senses. and humans’ primary way of relating to things is neither purely cognitive nor sensory. Frith and Happé [30] suggest that mind-reading ‘appears to be a prerequisite for normal social interaction: in everyday life we make sense of each other’s behaviour by appeal to a belief-desire psychology’. 28]. By definition social cognition aims to build a bridge between the cognitive and social sciences.3 Towards a cognitive perspective on the study of social interactions One of the most exciting attempts to move the cognitive sciences towards the study of social relation is undoubtedly represented by social cognition [24-26]. The major tenets of theory theory claim that the understanding of other people’s minds is based on an innately specified. Recently this situated and enactive perspective has been extended to the social sciences. and animal cognition research [29]. 1. Starting from a more cognitive approach several studies of how one person understands. . domainspecific mechanism designed for reading other minds [31-33].F. far from taking place merely with the world. Maturana and Varela define the living being as an autopoietic machine. Enactive knowledge is more natural than other forms of knowledge acquisition. trying to understand how the construction of an intersubjective space of activities may prove possible. Within this area it will be possible to extend the study of consciousness and human activity in interaction with other minds. the ‘social cognition’ approach needs the contribution not only of social psychology but also of evolutionary studies [27. namely theoretical and procedural learning) the world become inseparable from the subject. but rather bodily and skillful. namely that of social relations. that is a system whose primary function is the creation and preservation of a unity of its own which singles him out from the environment which it inhabits [23].

Specifically. embodied practices constitute the primary access for understanding others. human encounters with others are not normally occasions for explaining or predicting the behaviour of others on the basis of postulated mental states. sharing a common background (including an amount of knowledge about each agent’s mental states. From this perspective. Tomasello suggests that social cognition in humans emerged to specialized cultural and biological adaptations. and coordinate. reciprocal expectations. and continue to do so to a large extent. or action. it has recently been suggested that social interaction may influence the development of children’s mentalistic understanding. Both theory theory and simulation theory conceive of communicative interaction between two people as a process that takes place in a set of internal mental operations that end up being expressed (externalized) in speech. demonstrating how embodied interaction contributes to the self-organising development of the neuronal structure responsible not only for motor action. even after humans have achieved theory of mind abilities. rather than in mentalistic or conceptual prediction. but for the way we become aware of . in defining primary intersubjectivity Threvarthen [40]. action planning) that allow humans to understand and share social situations. and other types of social and cultural cognition) in order to perform and understand social actions. had already gathered revolutionary scientific evidence supporting the claims that the basis for child interaction has already been laid by certain embodied practices that allows them to perceive gestures and sound cues allowing a not necessarily conceptual perception of the other person’s intentional act. In adults. finding that competence on false belief understanding is correlated with aspects of children’s socialization history [38]. finally. with the publication of “The Cultural Origin of Human Cognition” [41]. instead. the interactive nature of the human mind is characterized by meaningful involvement (e.8 F. supporting the creation of social relationships and knowledge sharing. argues that one does not theorize about the other person but uses one’s own mental experience as an internal model for the other’s mind [35.g. Addressing this feature. one simulates the thoughts or feelings that one would experience if she were in the situation of the other. a different approach to social interactions has been developed showing that the primary and usual attitude of human beings in the world is grounded in interaction. 36] claim that mind theory is our primary and pervasive means of understanding other persons. This is where neuroscience research joins in. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords Simulation theory.g. Some theorists [31. agents have a direct understanding of another person’s intentions because their intentions are explicitly expressed in their embodied actions. environmental and contextual factors) and movement possibilities (e. According to all three approaches listed above. gesture. To understand the other person. an historical socio-genesis (which encourages new forms of cultural learning in humans). Consistent with this vision. and mirrored in their own capabilities for action [39]. Specifically. At the same time. in most intersubjective situations. Incidentally. 37]. he states that in addition to an ontogenetic development (which provides human children with the acquisition of perspective-based cognitive representations in the form of linguistic symbols) there was also a phylogenetic evolution in humans (which provides them with the ability to identify with co-specifics) and. each other. social interactions are the result of a cooperative process in which all agents involved actively play with.

which led to the discovery of the crucial role the amygdala plays in social cognition [47. it is also related to the human possibility of a social interpretation of behaviour. the social approach includes the study of experiences and behaviour of a person as she perceives and interacts with a social target. research on the biological correlates of the social processes was already afoot. SCN. so much so that any damage it suffers may lessen the subject’s ability to understand his relation to others and of using such understanding to modulate his social behaviour [47]. such as fMRI and PET. Recently. These findings support . 48]. some authors believe that ‘the brain does not exist in isolation but rather is a fundamental component of developing and aging individuals who themselves are mere actors in the larger theater of life’ [46. p. 1. It is a largely shared opinion that this part of the limbic system is involved in emotional and motivational stimulus evaluation. in fact. and intersubjectively live in a meaningful world. communicate with others. in the famous clinical case of Phineas Cage (for more on this case. This standpoint was reinforced by the introduction of the techniques of functional neuroimaging. A question arises here: does SNC represent a truly new approach to the study of relation? Before the emergence of SNC.4 Towards a neuroscientific endorsement The concern of the neurosciences for social behaviour goes back a long way.F. and the related brain areas that are activated for self-movement and perception of another person’s movements.51]. there has been growing consensus on the fact that mirror neurons.45]. These approaches are closely linked with a neural level of analysis that includes a description of the neural systems involved in the psychological processes on which a broader social behavior is based [42]. Indeed. investigates social processes by means of the methodologies and instruments proper to research in cognitive neurosciences. Despite constant keen interest and notable research achievements. neurosciences find fresh stimulus in the study of the anatomical locations of these expressions of behaviour. while the cognitive one includes the understanding of the psychological processes that give rise to the experience or behavior of interest. Essentially. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords 9 ourselves. The tools used to study these topics. in fact. which provide a lot of information from the functioning brain of live humans. SCN is the study of brain functions that allow people to experience the social world effectively by understanding themselves and others. see [16]). true and proper cross-fertilization never took place between neurosciences and social cognition until the birth of Social Cognitive Neuroscience (SCN) [42.1019]. it may be traced back to studies on the role played by frontal functions in the modulation of emotions. generally include functional neuro-imaging tools. in fact. In their attempt to understand how frontal lobe lesions may cause substantial alterations of emotional and social behaviour. The considerable innovation that the neurosciences have injected into the study of the self-other relation is mostly the result of research on sensory-motor coupling in understanding intentions [49] and of mirror neurons findings in humans [50. According to Liebermann [43]. Within the SCN. play an important part in imitation and in the human being’s ability to perceive intentions [52-54].

mindreading and . ground-breaking result for the study of interactions. Along similar lines. The study of intersubjectivity calls for a fruitful triangulation of these disciplines. an agent has no need to simulate the gesture internally. A heated and broad debate is in progress on the role of mirror neurons and on the implications that these findings may have for the study of the understanding of oneself and the other. one may gather that these areas tend to converge towards a common ground of understanding for the study of intersubjectivity (Figure 1). and has met with widespread consensus: the mirror systems constitute the neural basis for a primitive intersubjective information space. while such primitive intersubjectivity remains an essential aspect of adult empathy and social behaviour. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords the idea that to imitate a gesture. thus confirming biologically what social cognition had already largely speculated on by gradually putting aside mentalistic theories (e. this has been one of the fundamental research topics on mirror neurons in neuroscience. though somehow difficult. From this point of view.10 F. communication between these areas. In turn. Neurosciences. intersubjective identifications among humans are possible through intentional embodied attunement. for their part. This statement could constitute a revolutionary. From neuroscience findings. At the same time.5 Conclusions From our brief. for example a facial gesture that she sees. shows the existence of mirroring neural clusters which. and necessarily incomplete. which is both phylogenetically and ontogenetically prior to the explicit conceptualization of others’ intention. in fact. a communication which augurs well not only for mutual enhancement but also for a more holistic understanding of the human relation. Gallese’s shared manifold hypothesis suggests that the mirrors system has a general role in enabling empathy [51. 56]. social cognition and neuroscience. the enactive approach put forward by the cognitive sciences broadens the scope for an appreciation of the importance of action intentionality in our experience of the world. 1. outline of theoretical trends in cognitive science. leading to mutual enrichment and enabling each discipline to help the others towards a better understanding of the relational skills of human beings. Something is already clear. intersubjectivity appears to be a pre-reflexive functional mechanism that is not necessarily the result of an explicit and conscious cognitive effort. represent a plausible neural basis for embodied intentional interaction. the motor-perceptive definition of mirror neurons has highlighted the fact that the other’s action may be understood through embodied imitation.g. one of the leading stars in the neuroscientific arena today. besides contributing to the recognition and modulation of the action. by nature it doesn’t necessarily require the intervention of the theory of mind in understanding others. we are looking at a possible. Thus. contribute to teaching enactive cognition that awareness of the world through biologically-determined action is definitely possible at the neural level. Rather. Accordingly. At this stage. The evolution of research on mirror neurons. her body is already in communication with the other’s body at pre-conscious and perceptual levels that are sufficient for subjective engagement in interaction [54].

as the capacity to reach an attunement of biologically determined intentional actions enacted in an actor-tailored and meaningful situation. Conversely. in fact. much more ground remains to be covered before subjectivity is fully understood and defined. while researching intersubjectivity the social sciences may continue to address the relation alone without considering the way in which such relations occur not as a process of exchanges of actions and information. social cognition and neuroscience towards a common ground of understanding for the study of intersubjectivity For a thorough understanding of the intersubjective nature of human cognition we cannot ignore the convergence of these disciplines. but as the result of an intentional mental activity between individuals. observing current research in progress. though differently and complementarily. Although we are satisfied that this is no longer uncharted territory. The human mind. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords 11 Theory of Mind) and introducing an imitative meaning to one’s awareness of the other’s understanding. The convergence of cognitive science. relates not only to the world but also to other minds which it recognises as equivalent to itself in their intentional nature and with which it can set up a relation. Cognitive Science Social Cognition Intersubjectivity NeuroScience Figure 1. we notice at once that some of it focuses on: (i) How this capacity develops in human beings (ii) Whether or not this ability is typical of human beings or shared with other species (iii) What is the cognitive architecture underpinning this capacity . indeed.F. the former is defined by the latter. Not surprisingly. The convergence between cognitive and social perspective has turned out to be equally fruitful. Many research questions are still unanswered and point the way for potential approaches to applied research on this topic. by establishing that making sense of cognitive architecture is not worth insisting on unless its social nature is duly taken into account.

Finally. 1. we still have to clarify this need for multidisciplinarity so that the results achieved by one discipline may be consistent with what is currently known to the other disciplines on the human relation. cognitive and social outlooks. the study of intersubjectivity. This may give rise to unpleasant ambiguities and/or even more unpleasant overlapping of terms with different meanings (or denotations) from one discipline to another. we are not out of the woods yet. On the other hand. we will be able to view it with the appropriate degree of interdisciplinarity. there is a dangerous persistence of miscommunication among disciplines. This does not necessarily mean that one has to be influenced by the sister disciplines in our interpretation of the results achieved. too. but also from a functional and qualitative point of view. not merely from a neural. and that one should apply a more rigorous critical spirit in expressing conclusions where a research result does not fit in well with what is already known to the other disciplines. it prompts us to pay more and more attention to research conducted in other domains in order to discover in them an opportunity for understanding the non-understood or misunderstood and new suggestions for continuing research. where all disciplines by nature co-evolve and build up step by step. Morganti / What Intersubjectivity Affords (iv) How it allows us to see ourselves as belonging to the world and vis-à-vis our fellow beings (v) What this capacity is able to support in human cogntition (vi) What happens when something fails in intersubjectivity Each of these research lines helps us understand the intersubjective nature of human beings and confirms once more the need for cross-fertilization between the neurobiological. Only this way do we stand a chance to understand better what happens when we are intersubjectively related to each other. heated debate. and not the least. On the one hand. as we have observed. Among other things. Cross-fertilization calls for a lowering of the barriers separating disciplines. and make sure that our conclusions will not be subject or subservient to evidence provided by the other disciplines. Even though. which instinctively use a terminologies that are often too different from each other. which is unfortunately often the case with the neurosciences. If in our research on intersubjectivity we manage to consider the poles of this ideal triangulation as equidistant from an understanding of our phenomenon. one should avoid falling into the trap of assuming a predominant standpoint with regard to intersubjectivity. I am indebted to Antonella Carassa for inspiring me with the necessary degree of passion and anger . on the basis of successive findings.12 F.6 Acknowledgements Theoretical reflections tend to grow out of sound. this convergence is based on excellent premises. this is quite typical of multidisciplinary research. First and foremost. and any discussion involves at least two interlocutors. it does mean that one should try to find an interpretation that is congruent with the other disciplines when one’s own results seem to be in line with theirs. as is the case with any interdisciplinary approach. must do its best to keep clear of errors and misunderstandings. As always.

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Very well. I can't. Edgar Lee Master . a lake. Read a page for me. Try this. Oh I see! Try this lens! Just an open space . Depths of air. My eyes are carried beyond the page.SECTION II PERSPECTIVES ON INTERSUBJECTIVITY What do you see now? Globes of red. beautiful women.Spoon River. now! Pine trees.a city. kind faces. yellow. 1916 . we'll make the glasses accordingly. purple. Yes! And now? Knights at arms. Try this. Just a globet on a table. That's better. Just a moment! And now? My father and mother and sisters. making everything below it a toy world. And now? A book. A field of grain . Try this lens.I see nothing in particular. Well. just light. a summer sky. Excellent! And now? Light. Very good! And now? Many womens with bright eyes and open lips.

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.... Morganti et al.......................................... this view has been undermined by several neurophysiological findings and in particular by the discovery of mirror neurons.................2 2............... to represent them as individuals endowed with mental states such as beliefs......................... But what is really at the basis of this ability? The standard view is that we understand the behavior of others because we are able to read their mind............6 2.......................... 17 2 Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality Corrado SINIGAGLIA Abstract......Enacting Intersubjectivity F. 18 Mirror neurons for actions: goals and movements ................ Most of our social interactions rest upon our ability to understand the behavior of others.............. 25 Teleological stance and motor intentionality .... Without this mindreading ability the behavior of others would be meaningless for us........................7 2.... 30 References.................. 23 Before mindreading: the ontogeny of intentional understanding ................ All rights reserved........ by explaining how the first forms of understanding in infants may be intentional in nature.............................................. 2008 © 2008 The authors......... Over the last few years...................3 2........... Contents 2.............. 21 Motor chains and intention understanding ... 27 Concluding remarks .............. 31 .... and to shed new light on the ontogeny of mindreading.......................) IOS Press...........1 2.................. however.......................8 Introduction...... desires and intentions............ 19 Basic motor acts and enactive understanding .........4 2........ (Eds......... This paper has a dual objective: to develop this approach in order to account for the crucial role of motor intentionality in action and intention understanding below and before any metarepresentational ability.............. The functional properties of these neurons indicate that motor and intentional components of action are tightly intertwined............... suggesting that the basic aspects of intentional understanding can be fully appreciated only on the basis of a motor approach to intentionality............ even without presupposing any explicit and deliberate mentalizing..............................5 2.......

According to the direct matching hypothesis. It will be argued that the mirror neuron mechanism undermines the usual construal of both action and action understanding by revealing the extent to which intentional and motor components of action are intertwined and how their involvement in action understanding can only be appreciated on the basis of a motor approach to .18 C. such as those that characterize our meta-representational abilities. even more. how do we understand what type of action these movements are – in other words.) that are supposed to be at the origin of the observed motor behavior and that therefore can render it intelligible and in many cases predictable. even though the suggested mechanisms are very different. But what is really at the basis of this ability? How exactly do we understand the behavior of others? This issue encompasses two distinct but complementary questions. or to a more or less complex form of “simulation” (see [1-2] on this point). or to the assumption of an “intentional stance” based on a postulate of rationality. Whether such mindreading ability is considered to be related to a more or less explicit use of a “theory of mind”. is of minor importance in this context. Analyses of the functional properties of the cortical motor system and. it would be impossible to grasp the intentional meaning of their behavior [3]. It simply maintains that mentalizing is neither the sole nor the primary way of intentional understanding. that other more complex processes. how do we realize that what we are observing are not pure physical events but intentional movements – in other words. In the first place. The present paper aims at exploring such an “enactive” understanding below and before any mindreading ability. intentions. the discovery of a distinct class of sensory-motor neurons (the so-called mirror neurons) have suggested the hypothesis that our understanding of the actions performed by others is primarily based on a mechanism that directly matches the sensory representations of the observed actions with the motor representations of the observer’s own actions. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 2. However this idea is being radically challenged by an increasing number of studies in the field of what has been called “neurophysiology of action”. First of all. may be at work and play a role in these functions. pointing out that our ability to understand the actions and the intentions of others capitalizes on the same motor knowledge that underpins our own capacity to act. of course. desires. This hypothesis does not exclude. we primarily understand the actions of others by means of our own motor knowledge: it is this type of knowledge that would enable us to immediately attribute an intentional meaning to the movements of others. and its identification as that particular action. so that without the ability to read the mind of others. how do we attribute the status of action to the observed movements? And in the second place. how do we identify them as this or that given action? It is widely assumed in the fields of cognitive science and philosophy of mind that both the recognition of an event as an action. that is to attribute them with specific mental states. etc. What is important here is that. depend equally on the ability of attributing to others those mental states (beliefs. these various views share the idea that both the status and the identity of an action depends on its connection to specific mental states.1 Introduction Most of our social interactions rest upon our ability to understand the behavior of others. the basic properties of mirror neurons and their role in intentional understanding will be addressed.

Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 19 intentionality. the human mirror system becomes active also for intransitive and mimicked actions [9] and it is able to code both the goaldirectedness of a given action and the temporal aspects of its single movements [10]. However.2 Mirror neurons for actions: goals and movements Discovered first in the premotor cortex (area F5) [4-5] and then in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL. it has been demonstrated that the lower part of the precentral gyrus plus the posterior part of the inferior prefrontal gyrus and the rostral part of the inferior parietal lobule form the core of the human mirror system. suggesting how the first forms of action and intention understanding may be intentional in nature. 2. being deeply related to the motor expertise infants acquire during their development. However. When the animal observes mimed acts in which no objects are present. In the following paragraphs I shall focus on the role of mirror neurons in intentional understanding. In particular. its functional properties are different and more sophisticated. Several electrophysiological experiments and brain imaging studies have provided evidence for the existence of a mirror neuron system for action in the human brain (see for a review [7-8]). nor can they be interpreted as mind reading.C. or movements performed without any meaning such as raising an arm or waving hands (even if these actions are carried out with the intention of frightening the animal). are extensively treated in [11]. It has been shown that in humans too the observation of actions performed by others activates areas and circuits that are involved in motor activity. mirror neurons are a specific class of motor neurons which become active not only when an individual performs a specific act (such as grasping) but also when s/he sees it being performed by other individuals. as well as for the evolutions of language. There is a large consensus that the primary forms of understanding infants develop in the first year of life do not imply any meta-representational ability. this is also the case when the animal observes food or generic three-dimensional objects. though the mechanism and the localization of the human mirror system are very similar to those of the monkey. Indeed. The implications of such differences for the development in humans of imitative and communicative capabilities. areas PF and PFG reciprocally connected with F5) [6] of macaque monkeys. The specific congruence of the sensory and motor responses of mirror neurons have led to the hypothesis that they form the basis of a mechanism whereby our brain is able to directly match the sensory representations of the perceived actions with our own motor representations of those actions. and the solutions advanced are often in contrast one to another. In the macaque monkey the activation of the mirror neurons is connected to the animal’s observation of motor acts characterized by an effective hand (or mouth)-object interaction. The ontogenetic aspects of intentional understanding that have emerged from some recent studies in developmental psychology will be successively examined and discussed. and that the primary function of this matching would be to enable us to immediately understand the meaning of . but also provide a coherent account for its ontogeny. the nature and reach of this understanding are much-debated topics. there is no response from the mirror neurons. It will be finally shown that the mirror neuron mechanism and motor intentionality not only shed new light on the background of mindreading.

regardless of the fact that diametrically opposite hand movements were required to achieve that goal. and “content”? These questions can be answered first by considering the motor properties mirror neurons share with the other F5 and IPL neurons. many F5 neurons discharge when the monkey performs a motor act such as grasping a piece of food. i.e. irrespective of whether it uses its right or left paw or even its mouth to do so. . maintaining the same relation to the different phases of grasping in both conditions. Surprisingly. but also tool-mediated motor acts. half of F1 neurons have been shown to code the goal-related motion of the pliers. and not the single movements of the fingers of the paw. The experiment was carried out with macaque monkeys. even when selectivity is at its highest. etc. Conversely. others are more selective. When using the normal pliers. the “intentional content”. However. “meaning”. This finding indicates that the goalrelatedness is a distinctive functional feature upon which the cortical motor system is organized.and mouth-. But what do we really mean when we talk about the “understanding” and the “meaning” of an action? What kind of understanding can be associated with the direct matching mechanism of the mirror neurons? What does such a mechanism tell us about the meaning. manipulating. All recorded neurons in the F5 area discharged in relation to the goal-related motion of the pliers.20 C. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality the actions performed by others. for example) performed with a specific motor goal. of an action? Is it not misleading to resort to an intentional language by using terms such as “understanding”. such as grasping an object. even in cases where the distal goal of the tool is the opposite of the proximal goal of the hand. which were trained to grasp objects using two types of pliers (“normal” and “reverse”). Hand interactions with objects as well as the use of the normal pliers reinforce the connections that usually characterize a motor goal such as grasping. For example. Neurons that discharged with normal pliers when the paw was opening discharged when the paw was closing with the reverse pliers: the discharge was always linked to the initial phase of the motor act. the monkey grasped the object presented to it by opening its paw and then closing it. discharge weakly or not at all during the execution of similar movements that compose a different motor act such as scratching. when using the reverse pliers it first grasped the object by closing its paw and then opening it. as do most of the primary motor cortex neurons which control the fine morphology of movement [12]. suggesting a mechanism for the transformation of a motor goal into an appropriate sequence of movements – even when this is opposite to that usually required to achieve such a goal. the discharge being related to the final phase of the motor act. It is worthwhile noting that in this study hand-related neurons were recorded also from the primary motor cortex (F1). the motor responses cannot be interpreted in terms of single movements: the neurons that discharge during certain movements (the flexing of a finger. A recent study [13] has shown that the goal-relatedness of the F5 neurons not only concern hand. neurons that discharged with normal pliers when the paw was closing discharged when the hand was opening with the reverse pliers. like F5 neurons. requiring opposite hand movements. holding. Indeed it has been well known for some time now that the fundamental characteristic of F5 and IPL neurons is that they code goal-directed motor acts such as grasping. and not the single movements that compose these acts. discharging only for a particular effector or grip. The goal-related F5 and F1 neurons are connected with different sets of motor cortex neurons controlling the opening and the closing of the hand.

It must be said. on the contrary. but its format. In other terms. the opposite connections are reinforced by the success of the tool-mediated motor acts and prevail. desires. however.C. albeit in varying ways. etc. nonetheless it must have a coherent motor content that enables it to determine a given behavior and to control its execution. it would be almost impossible to select the appropriate movements for our actions. the act of grasping. Without such a type of representation.3 Basic motor acts and enactive understanding The fact that at the level of the cortical motor system movements are represented with different degrees of generality and that these representations reveal. a specific goal-relatedness. and although this representation can differ in respect to single movements. There is no doubt that mental states such as beliefs. But is also a motor representation. as the end-point of a motor act. which renders possible the coherent composition of the various movements and enables us to control them while they are being executed. Now the neurons that control hand closure are selected first followed by those that control hand opening. It is a goal-related representation because it is characterized by different degrees of generality and although its content refers to movement. that in both cases the motor act of grasping embodies a motor intentional content that identifies it as being more than just a mere sequence of movements. that is as a goal-related motor act directed to grasp a certain object. desires. and intentions can contribute to shaping and refining the intentional content of an action. this type of representation enables a movement (like the flexing of a finger. For example. it presupposes a motor representation – where the adjective “motor” does not mean simply the content of this representation (as in the case of a mere representation of movement). like every other basic motor act. Quite apart from being the outcome of whatever prior and distinct pure mental state. etc. it also enables different movements (even movements which are diametrically opposite such as opening . to take on different intentional meanings as it is a part of various acts with different motor goals (such as grasping as opposed to scratching). for example). After learning to use the reverse pliers. nonetheless it cannot be reduced to a single sequence of movements. This representation has to be construed as a motor goal-related one. a certain size. we can pick up a glass because we are convinced it contains our favorite whiskey and we want to savor it one more time: this action is very different to the action consisting in the same motor act performed with the intention of avoiding that someone picks up the glass if we think it contains a potent poison. It cannot be interpreted in abstract or mentalistic terms.) which are supposed to lie at the origin of its execution [14]. the intentional content of an action does not depend entirely and exclusively on the mental states (beliefs. is defined by its own goal-relatedness. its way of representing. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 21 selecting first those neurons that control hand opening and then those that control hand closure. On the other hand. grasping means no longer: “Close the fingers!” but: “Open the fingers!” 2. with a certain shape. shows how the meaning. This goal-relatedness is coded by F5 and IPL neurons. as well as by a portion of F1 neurons. compose them in the correct sequence and control the final execution. because the goal is represented in a motor format.

which. together with those effectively executed. In the above-mentioned experiment on the use of normal and reverse pliers [13]. were hidden behind a screen. but also for tool-mediated motor acts. That is true not only for hand.e. In another study [20] F5 mirror neurons were recorded while the monkey observed the experimenter performing a sound-producing motor act and when it heard the sound without seeing the action. both F5 purely motor neurons and also F5 mirror neurons were recorded. at least at the level of basic motor acts. diversifies and becomes increasingly sophisticated. independently of whether the motor act was observed in its entirety or only in its initial phases. recordings of single F5 mirror neurons [19] showed that most responded to the observation of hand motor acts even when the final part of these acts. allowing the monkey to understand the motor intentional meaning of the observed act in both conditions. these have shown that activation of the mirror neuron system during action observation is modulated by the observer’s motor repertoire. Such motor representations are evoked also by observing the actions performed by others. shows that both representations possess the same intentional motor content and that the status and the identity of a given action. depends primarily on this content. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality and closing one’s fingers) to take on the same intentional meaning. share the fineness-of-grain of their motor intentional content. diversifies and also becomes increasingly sophisticated In other words. The evoked motor goal–related representation was always the same. The fact that the observation of an action performed by others generates a motor representation that is similar to that which the observer himself would activate if he were planning that action. that is that F5 mirror neurons were able to code the distal goal of the pliers as the same (grasping) both from a motor and visual point view. the more the goal representations are motor fine-grained. indicating how the ability to visually code the goal of the observed movements and the fineness-of-grain of this goal coding depend on the observer’s motor expertise.22 C.actions. as they are part of acts with the same motor goal (grasping). even when the movement of the fingers required to achieve that goal were not only different but diametrically opposite. even when they involve opposite sequences of movements. . The motor format of the goal-related representations also explains why action understanding is not strictly bound to the completeness of the sensory information or to only one sensory modality. As this repertoire develops.and mouth. This finding emphasizes the constitutive role of motor goal-relatedness in the action understanding made possible by mirror neuron activation. Indeed. The motor and visual responses of F5 mirror neurons possessed the same goal-relatedness. the greater the significance acquired by details of the observed actions. As already mentioned. This in line with the evidence from a number of brain-imaging studies [15-18] over the last few years. It is due to this sharing that action understanding can become extremely detailed – continuing to be immediate and without presupposing the meta-representational abilities which are alleged to be at the basis of mind reading. i. the motor aboutness. whether observed or performed. consisting in the effective object-hand interaction. It is the goalrelatedness of these motor representations that allows the observer to immediately pick up the motor intentional meaning of the observed actions. which characterizes them as such and makes them comprehensible. the mirror neuron mechanism directly matches the sensory with the motor representations of the observed actions. the ability to immediate understand the actions of others develops.

Most of the recorded hand-grasping neurons triggered differentially depending on whether the grasping was a grasping to carry to the mouth or a grasping to move the piece of food from one place to another. i. Note that in both action execution and observation mirror neurons became active as soon as the macaque’s paw or the experimenter’s hand assumed the shape necessary to grip the food or other objects. This means that visual features are relevant only to the extent that they facilitate the understanding of the motor intentional content of the observed act – but if such understanding could be facilitated by other cues (sounds. however. The results showed that most parietal mirror neurons displayed a clear congruence between motor and visual responses discharging differentially depending on which action the single motor act of grasping was embedded into.4 Motor chains and intention understanding The motor acts considered above are defined by single goal-related motor representations. for example. Such motor intentional organization has been investigated by recording the activity of IPL motor neurons in macaque monkeys during typical hand grasping movements [21]. In point of fact. peanut breaking) only when it was observed. or to non-specific sounds. the monkey grasped an object or a piece food and placed it in a container.e. the monkey grasped a piece of food that had been placed in front of it. but also provides the building blocks upon which a more complex form of intentional understanding can be constructed. the existence of specific motor chains that guarantees the fluidity of acting. heard or both heard and observed. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 23 The results showed that a large number of tested neurons responded selectively and congruently to a given motor act (for instance. but did not respond to the sight and sound of another motor act. and then carried it to its mouth. in its complexity. The motor selectivity of these neurons and the fact that the motor representation evoked by their activation modulates its goal-relatedness with respect to the final goal of a specific action.C. is not restricted to single motor goals. In this case the single goal-related motor representation (grasping) becomes part of more complex motor representations related to final goals that differ one from another (grasping for eating or grasping for placing). but enables a grasp of the motor intention that makes up the various goals giving origin to real action. This form. in the same study parietal mirror neurons were recorded in the experimental conditions (grasping for eating and grasping for placing) used to test the motor properties of parietal grasping neurons. The experiment had two conditions: in the first. the mirror neurons would be able to code the goal-relatedness of the perceived movements even in the absence of visual stimuli. The fact that the visual stimulus elicited the same set of motor goal-related representations that compose the motor intention responsible for the execution of . Indeed. which cannot be interpreted in terms of a simple sequence of motor acts but presupposes the embedding of the various acts involved into a specific goal hierarchy. our motor behavior usually displays a more complex intentional structure. in the second condition. not only explains one of the fundamental characteristics of motor organization. Take for example the case of a motor act such as grasping: it may be embedded in diverse actions leading to different final motor goals: eating or placing. for example). 2.

plate. there was no MH activity in the autistic children during the execution and the observation of the placing action. that ‘the primary deficit is not in the responsiveness of the mirror neurons to the observation of others’ action. There are a number of studies. depends on a malfunctioning of mirror neuron system. Both the execution and the observation of the eating action produced a marked increase of MH activity in TD children as early as the reaching phase. or had just finished) and a hand grasping a mug with different grips in different contexts (to indicate grasping the mug to drink from it. grasping-for-drinking or grasping-for-tidying-away). Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality the entire motor chain suggests that the monkey was immediately able to understand the whole motor intentional content of the observed action. During the execution and observation conditions of both actions the activity of the mouthopening mylohyoid muscle (MH) of the TD and autistic children was recorded using EMG surface electrodes. however. was to grasp a piece of food with the right hand from a plate. these latter were interpreted in terms of possible motor chains that were not selected on the basis of an all-or nothing mechanism. for the first time. thus showing the typical plasticity that characterizes any intentional motor behavior. two different contexts (teapot. they showed a much later activation of the MH while eating and no activation at all when eating was observed. produced a higher activation in the caudal part of the inferior frontal gyrus. carry it to the mouth and eat it. but presented varying degrees of plausibility that could change depending on the circumstances. that its impairment is at the basis of one of the core deficits that characterize the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). the type of object to be grasped. in the region which constitutes the frontal node of the human mirror neuron system. It is worthwhile adding that a series of EMG experiments [23] has very recently shown. from the onset of the experimenter’s initial movements. that motor intention understanding in humans is based on a motor chain organization similar to that found in monkeys and. arranged as if someone were about to have tea. An fMRI experiment [22] provided evidence that also the human mirror neuron system is able to grasp the motor intentions of others. etc. for instance. Typically developed (TD) and high-functioning autistic children were requested to execute and to observe two different actions: the first. using different techniques. The EMG experiments. This suggests that this system is able not only to code single motor acts. or to tidy it away). was to grasp a piece of paper placed on the same plate and put it into a box. even more importantly. The results showed that the condition of hand actions embedded in context. placing. [see. compared with the other two conditions.24 C. However. 2427] whose results support the hypothesis that a core deficit of ASD. but also to code the general motor intention with which the single motor acts are performed (for example. Volunteers were presented with three different visual stimuli: a hand grasping a mug with different grips (precision or full hand). on the contrary.) provides relevant visual cues. As occurred in the TD children. indicate. however. and to anticipate its final goal. mug. The fact that the autistic children did not show MH activity . but in the impaired organization of motor chains underlying action representation’ [23]. whereas no MH activity was recorded in the execution and observation conditions of the placing action. There is no doubt that the context (presence or absence of containers. eating. while the second. the inability to understand the intentional meaning of the behavior of others and therefore to relate to them in an ordinary way. albeit indirectly.

above all. In fact. This did not happen when the observed action involved inanimate objects (a claw. However. but which followed that the same trajectory as in of the habituation test (new goal/old path). During observation. A recent looking-time experiment. etc. but only as a simple sequence of unrelated single motor acts. For example.) that help autistic children to understand why the experimenter was doing what he was doing. enabling to understand both the goal-relatedness that characterizes the single motor acts and. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 25 during the entire reaching and grasping phases of eating. but which grasped the same object as in the habituation test (old goal/new path). But what does this mechanism tell us about what happens before mindreading. This inability did not determine any actual impairment during the execution of either action. This type of understanding.and 9-month-old infants are able to distinguish between the goal-relatedness of some basic hand motor acts and their kinematics: infants in both age groups looked longer at the hand grasping a new object. 2. than at the hand following a different trajectory. context. The former provides at best a merely associative knowledge. however. revealed the covert ability of 15-month-old infants to predict an actor’s behavior on the basis of her true or false beliefs [30]. it is widely accepted that the forms of intentional understanding infants develop in the first year of life are related to the goal-relatedness of the observed movements and that they cannot be interpreted in terms of mindreading [31-33]. MH activation did not occur during the observation of either eating or placing. . whereas the latter gives a grasp of the motor aboutness of others’ actions.C. and this made them unable to understand the motor intention with which the experimenter was grasping the pieces of food or of paper. These findings suggest that by their ninth month infants have a ‘store of knowledge’ that does not imply any metarepresentational ability and allows them to be better tuned to the goal-related than to the spatial and temporal properties of the basic motor acts performed by others. the overall intention that underpins them. should be very clearly distinguished from that generated by motor knowledge. for instance. for instance) or was incoherent from a motor point of view (the back of the hand was approached to the object instead of the open palm) [34-35]. indicated that they were not able to represent the entire action to be executed as an intentionally organized motor chain.5 Before mindreading: the ontogeny of intentional understanding Up to now I have considered what the mirror neuron mechanism suggests may be below mindreading. and in particular what happens before mindreading from an ontogenetic rather than a phylogenetic point of view (on the latter issue see [28]. see also [29])? Are the first forms of intentional understanding in infants to be construed as modalities of acting in way that are consistent with more mature motor understanding of goal-related actions? Does motor intentionality play a role in shaping the ontogeny of intentional understanding? Over the last few years. a series of looking-time experiments have shown that 6. It is very likely that there are various cues (object semantic. given also the simplicity of the required tasks. becoming active only during the bringing-to-the-mouth phase. numerous studies have demonstrated that the ability to read the mind of others could in fact appear at a very early stage in the infant’s development. the autistic children’s ability to disambiguate the eating action from its onset was impaired. however.

the precocious and undifferentiated concept of intention it appeals to is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition to account for the first forms of understanding in infants. in a low-level system for detecting statistical regularities in the actions of others would enable the identification of relevant units in the observed behavior stream.26 C. the former is based on a notion of intention which does not presuppose any sharp distinction to the correlated notion of desire. Though it must be recognized that this view emphasizes the differences between the mechanisms involved in the development of intentional understanding. but has to be interpreted as an undifferentiated “pro-attitude”. the infants would have been able to distinguish between both the different goals of the observed motor acts [34] and also the congruent and non-congruent ways to achieve them [35]. a high-level system would then facilitate the making sense of these units in terms of second-order mental states. as long as it is recognized that the fully developed concept of intention is gradually acquired at a much later stage.e.and 9-month-old infants. i. Moreover. showing how at the beginning they are not closely related. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality In spite of such large consensus. thus achieving a genuine intentional understanding [see among others 39-40]. and often in conflict one with another. the undifferentiated nature of this pro-attitude explains why it cannot be considered as a sufficient condition. as it ends up assuming what it should in fact be accounting for. I shall first introduce and discuss three of the most prevalent views. It is not a necessary condition: what the lookingtime experiments show is that 6. . then elaborate and motivate a fourth hypothesis to show that motor intentionality is not only crucial for the development of intentional understanding. In the first place. a “conation”. the hypotheses advanced to account for the nature and the reach of this kind of knowledge and its function in intentional understanding in infants are very different. These systems would have independent evolutionary and developmental origins.and 9-month-old infants are able to detect the goal-relatedness of the observed motor behaviors without needing to attribute an “undifferentiated” pro-attitude to the latter. an infant’s detection of intentions should not be confused with more mature meta-representational understanding. and only become integrated at a later stage. but also provides a theoretical unitary and neurophysiologically sound framework in which to construe the various and ever-growing body of evidence coming from development psychology research. the intentional link between the goal and the motor means on which the status and the identity of a given action depends. How could the infants have rendered the observed motor events intelligible and understood their goal-relatedness simply by ascribing a void conatus towards some unspecific objects to these movements? To what extent would such an ascription have enabled the infants to disambiguate the sensory information and to code its peculiar content? The second view hypothesizes that the development of intentional understanding is rooted in at least two different systems: first. it is not a contradiction in terms to attribute the ability to detect the intentional nature of the actions performed by others and to ascribe intentions to them to 6. For the sake of simplicity. intimately tied to given actions and objects. Even without such an attribution. According to the first view [see among others 36-38]. While the latter mechanism presupposes the ability to see intentions as mental representations independent from the actual execution of actions and to appreciate both their casual role and satisfactory conditions.

increasing their flexibility in the planning of ones’ own actions as well as in the understanding of those performed by others. for example. to their spatial-temporal characteristics. however.6 Teleological stance and motor intentionality The third view. It is based on a series of looking-time experiments that used computer-animated events with 2D geometric figures (circles and rectangles) behaving in ways adults have no difficulty in describing as goal-related [see for a review 41]. while in the second the small circle approached its target along a straight-line trajectory. 12-month-old infants were habituated to seeing a small circle approaching a large circle by jumping over an obstacle separating the two. rather from the simple regularities observed. like the previous view. Indeed. There is no doubt that the hypothesis that systems unrelated to metarepresentational abilities may have evolved to detect the same kinds of behavioral regularities that will later be interpreted by mature mind readers in terms of intentions may sound very appealing from both an evolutionary and a developmental point of view. The infant’s abilities in action understanding would therefore reflect an evolutionary archaic competence to monitor the behavior of others and to keep track of the statistical regularities embedded therein. During the test phase the obstacle was removed and infants were presented with two different test displays: in the first. Infants looked . Attempting to explain the first form of infant understanding by falling back on the “statistical regularities” that are thought to characterize biological movements seems rather an indication of the existence of a problem than its solution. this hypothesis takes for granted what should rather be accounted for. the small circle approached the large circle along the same trajectory as before. With regards the low-level system. while the ability to read the mind of others might have its own evolutionary history. seems carry greater weight today. rather than those connected to the cinematic aspects of observed movements. claiming that the advantage of the emerging meta-representational abilities would have been to refine the behavioral abilities.and 9-monthold infants acquire the capacity to detect such regularities and to what extent do these regularities allow the infant to code sensory information in intentional terms? Just how statistically regular must the observed hand-object contacts (for example) be to enable infants to understand the specific goal-relatedness of reaching and grasping movements performed by others? And why should those connected to the various hand-object interaction modalities prevail. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 27 and only later become intertwined. How do 6.C. that the first forms of understanding would depend? 2. it challenges the notion of a rigid cognitive discontinuity between the various ways of action understanding. probably connected with the emergence of the representational structures that support human language [39]. etc. but the greater flexibility offered in organizing and deploying existing behavioral elements.? Surely it is the progressive development of the ability to act that permits the infant to perceive these regularities and not others – and therefore it is from that ability. it must be said that. thus putting old behavioral patterns to new uses. known as “teleological stance” hypothesis. In one of these experiments. The evolutionary and developmental advantage of the meta-representational system would therefore not have been the generation of a large set of fundamentally new behaviors.

be it a human being or a 2D object. would still be the same for all. enabling them to ascribe goal-relatedness to the movements of a wide range of entities on the basis of a “rationality principle” that would provide the well-formedness criteria for action interpretations. Therefore it can be shown that goal-relatedness and efficacy do not always coincide. suggesting that they found it curious because there was no longer any need to jump as the obstacle had been removed and therefore the trajectory had become inefficient. or were at least compatible with its motor expertise [43]. the teleological stance hypothesis also presents some difficulties. thus specifying the types of perceptual cues whose presence can impel infants to infer the goal-relatedness of the observed movements. goal-state and current situational constraints). evidence that individual has the ability to adaptively modify his/her conduct to a change in environmental conditions. though the teleological stance does not imply any mentalizing. This principle would incorporate two basic assumptions about the intentional nature of action – i. such as. in which the goal relatedness of the observed movements can be measured only in terms of ‘minimal action’ or ‘the shortest path’. though applied to diverse dominions. In spite of its elegance and simplicity.28 C. and that (ii) any agent will employ the most efficient means available within the constraints of a given situation (equifinal variation of action) –. involving inferences on factual reality (action. the rationality principle that rules the action interpretation narrows down the goal-relatedness attribution to only the most efficient of the possible behaviors in any given situation. According to the authors of these experiments. it would share the principle of rationality with the “intentional” or “mentalistic” stance. such findings show that by 12 months of age infants are equipped with an inferential system. But what happens in the case of more specific interactions. that (i) its primary function is to bring about some particular change of state in the world. The intentional nature and reach of the various forms of understanding thus result as sourcing from a unique principle which. but in the case of basic motor acts such as grasping the latter presupposes . This would account for both the surprising sophistication of early intentional understanding and also the development of mindreading abilities. In fact. for example.e. This may be true in cases of chasing such as those of the experiment considered above. the teleological stance. so identifying the first forms of intentionality with the efficacy of the conduct to which they supposedly give origin. attaining the same goal in the most efficient manner in the new condition. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality longer at the trajectory in which the small circle jumped. First of all. should be taken as a strong indication of the goal-relatedness of the observed movements – independently of the agent that has performed them. whereas the straight-line trajectory matched their expectations as it was considered the most efficient way to approach the target in the new situation [42]. suggesting that infants start to assume a mentalistic stance when their cognition becomes sufficiently flexible to represent fictional and counterfactual world states and to apply the inferential principle of the earlier (teleological) stance to them [41]. the handobject interaction that is typical of reaching and grasping? A very recent lookingtime study on macaque monkeys carried out with the same experimental paradigm used in previous work on human infants has shown that the tested animals were able to detect the efficacy of observed hand goal-related motor acts only when these latter belonged to their motor repertoire. In particular.

or whether it would not be simpler and more economic to call on the motor knowledge of 6. 12-month-old infants produce proactive goal-directed eye movements when observing a goal-directed placing – which did not occur when they observed self-propelled objects following the same trajectory as before but without the presence of any human effector [46]. It simply implies the need to realize that motor knowledge is at the basis of a form of intentional understanding. but only when facilitated by previous motor experience [45].and 9-month-olds. emphasizing how ‘natural grasping events familiar to infants often exhibit equifinal modification of action as a function of environmental changes when lifting. which has to be recognize as original and perhaps as primary. the abstractness of the behavioral cues and the fact that in very simple situations they would suggest the goal-relatedness of the observed movements. On the other hand. This in fact is the direction taken by a good number of more recent studies. It been known for some time that 9/12 months of age marks a crucial phase in the development of infants’ ability to represent motor goals in planful manner. given also the fact that it can drive the infants’ understanding of the goal-relatedness of observed movements without presupposing any inferential system. it has been shown that by 12 months of age. This is not to deny the importance of the data produced in support of the teleological stance hypothesis. transporting.C.and 9-month-olds. This is particularly true as it not only permits the identification of the various degrees of goal sensitivity that children demonstrate in their first year of life. But the most important point is that the investigations of 10-month-old infants looking times have revealed that only the infants who were able to organize. infants are able to detect the hierarchical goal structure of a sequence of motor acts [47]. Even the supporters of the teleological stance were hard put to it to account for the results of the above quoted looking-time experiments regarding the observation of hand motor acts and in which the goal attribution did not imply the effective presence of either of the two perceptual cues presupposed by the rationality principle. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 29 the former. but also throws light on a key point in the development of intentional understanding. like adults. The fact that infants capitalize on their own motor knowledge for intentional understanding is also strongly corroborated by a gaze-recording experiment indicating that. of variable objects grasped in different situations’ [44]. . by themselves. The question remains whether the recourse to ‘pure reason’ is still legitimate in cases such as these. it has been shown that infants are sensitive to the goal-relatedness of movements performed by others even at 3 months of age. In particular. determined sequences of hierarchically organized motor acts were able to recognize the same sequences performed by others [48]– showing once again the crucial role of motor intentionality in the ontogeny of intentional understanding. which is marked by the emergence of the capacity of the capacity of interpreting the observed motor acts not only as individual acts but also in terms of hierarchically organized motor goals. does not in itself guarantee the generality of the proposed inferential system. nor does it exclude that forms of inference such as those indicated above may play an important role in the development of infant understanding. shaking etc. to the point that they had to call on the role played by the previous perceptive and motor experience of the 6. More recently.

desires. may. It is simply to underline how a motor approach to intentionality. that enables them to grasp the meaning of individual acts according to the overall actions in which they are embedded appears to be marked by the capacity to represent entire chains of actions with a specific goal hierarchy. show the way to rethinking the basis and the development of intentional understanding within a unitary theoretical and neuro-physiologically grounded framework. and so on) that might have been at the origin of their execution – at least at the level of basic actions. It is because of their motor intentional meaning that the actions performed by others. Nor can it be assumed as being paradigmatic. This however is not the case. whether they are formed by single motor acts or entire chains of actions organized by specific goal hierarchies. throwing new light on the first forms of intentional understanding that infants develop during their first year of life. possess a specific motor intentional meaning that cannot be reduced to the pure mental states (beliefs. If it did. whether he/she likes it or not. intention. and the mirror neurons mechanism shows how our motor knowledge enables us to immediately understand them. this allows them to plan and implement action with increasingly complex motor and intentional content. This does not mean to say that the entire ontogeny of mind reading must be reduced to the development of motor intentionality. mere physical movements devoid of any intentional meaning whatsoever. like our own. we would have to assume that without any explicit or deliberate mentalizing the actions of others would be basically opaque for us. and not just single unrelated acts. and regardless of what he/she has in mind. are immediately recognizable to us. This is a key transition in the development of intentional understanding that once again reveals the crucial role of motor intentionality. As soon as we see someone doing something. whichever the underlying mechanism may be. . neurophysiological findings and development psychology research suggest that motor intentionality is at the basis of the action and intention understanding below and before mindreading. for the first time. it also helps clarify their ontogeny. Sinigaglia / Enactive Understanding and Motor Intentionality 2. this meta-representational ability does not account for the full extent of intentional understanding.7 Concluding remarks Taken together. such as that suggested by the mirror neuron mechanism. This does not mean that the role that mind reading ability plays in intentional understanding must be denied. Many of the most recent experiments show clearly how the sensitivity demonstrated by infants to the goal-structure of action while observing the movements of others depends on the level of development they have reached in their own capacity to act. The very transition to more articulated forms of understanding. Our social conduct depends largely on our ability to read the mind of others.30 C. However. his/her movements take on meaning for us. Such enactive understanding is not only different in nature and content from the modalities of mind reading that have traditionally been taken into consideration. The functional properties of the cortical motor system and the mirror neuron mechanism indicate that the actions of others. either a single act or a chain of motor acts.

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starting from the notions of autonomy.) IOS Press.. 36 Making sense in participation………………….. especially for studies of social contingency.. This notion describes a spectrum of degrees of participation from the modulation of individual sense-making by coordination patterns. 45 .…………………………. 34 Enaction……………………………………….……………………………...Enacting Intersubjectivity F.. . . 34 What is a social interaction?…………………. Ezequiel DI PAOLO Abstract. in cognitive science and philosophy of mind – even in recent embodied approaches – the explanatory weight is still overly on individual capacities.. we discuss implications for empirical research on social interaction.7 Introduction………………………………………………………………. . . and that collective as well as individual mechanisms are at play in all social interactions..1 3. Contents 3. Examples illustrate that these autonomies evolve throughout an encounter. ....……………………………… .. 43 Conclusion………………………………………. Research on social cognition needs to overcome a disciplinary disintegration. We show how an enactive framework can provide a way to do this. We also introduce the notion of participatory sense-making in order to connect meaning-generation with coordination. over orientation.2 3..3 3. Morganti et al.………………………….5 3..4 3. to joint sensemaking.. Starting from the question What is a social interaction? we propose a fresh look at the problem aimed at integrating individual cognition and the interaction process in order to arrive at more parsimonious explanations of social understanding. In social science on the other hand. On the one hand.… .…………………………. the investigation of the interaction process and interactional behaviour is not often brought to bear on individual aspects of social cognition... 33 3 Making Sense in Participation: An Enactive Approach to Social Cognition Hanne DE JAEGHER.. sense-making and coordination. Finally.. 2008 © 2008 The authors. 45 References…………………………………………………………………. We propose that not only each individual in a social encounter but also the interaction process itself has autonomy... Not bringing these approaches together has unfairly limited the range of possible explanations of social understanding to the postulation of complicated internal mechanisms (contingency detection modules for instance). All rights reserved..6 3.. (Eds... 40 Implications………………………………………...

According to enaction. the individual has been over-exaggerated. In this perspective the properties of living and cognitive systems are part of a continuum. particularly if we want to extend it into a novel area.2 Enaction The concept of enaction today is applied with a variety of different meanings. and experience [4. We call this the Rear Window view. This contribution extends the enactive approach to show that it can provide a non-individualistic basis for social cognition. We develop a definition of social interaction and discuss implications for empirical studies. In this chapter.34 H. the focus has been too exclusively on the interaction process. we focus particularly on the first two: autonomy and sensemaking. we mean the perspective based on the mutually supporting concepts of autonomy. They go beyond traditional cognitivist explanations and emphasise the role of the body in our understanding of another’s intentions. it is necessary to clarify as much as possible how this term is going to be used. psychologists and cognitive scientists seem generally not aware of. but in cognitive science the importance of the interaction process is only beginning to trickle through the still very individualist net (see also [1]). On one side. For our purposes here. When referring to the enactive approach. the importance of the interaction process for social cognition. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation 3.1 Introduction A strange situation dominates contemporary approaches to social cognition. In their writings we find a view of cognition as an ongoing and situated activity shaped by life processes. Whilst anthropologists and other social scientists – traditionally the investigators of social interaction processes – are not often interested in relating their findings to questions about individual cognition. a drawback of many of these approaches is that the emphasis is still too exclusively on the individual body. To social scientists. subscribe to an individualistic view of social cognition. Our understanding of social cognition is developing fast. In the enthusiasm for embodiment in the social realm the fact is sometimes overlooked that social understanding is crucially an interactional process. whereas on the other. This situation needs to be rebalanced. Their organizational properties are the departure point of the approach. However. this may seem a trivial insight. 3. As a result. and the experience of the animate body. 8]. One such crucial property is the constitutive and interactive autonomy that living systems . and focus instead on individual capacities. even those that are embodied and ‘interactive’. De Jaegher and E. 7. Francisco Varela and colleagues [4-6] have provided the clearest articulation of enactive ideas. Most approaches. embodiment. and rightly so. self-organisation dynamics. sense-making. the question ‘What makes an interaction social?’ falls into a blind spot for most of social cognition research today. emergence. An account of social cognition that can recombine the individual and the interactional is timely. which nevertheless often overlap. living organisms are the paradigmatic cases of cognisers. 5. Recently proposed embodied accounts of social cognition receive a lot of attention. 3]. we bring together ideas developed in our recent work in order to shed an enactive light on these questions [2. However. or take for granted.

10. under otherwise equal physical circumstances. that conditions external to the system cannot be necessary as well for such processes to exist). 9-11]. Sense-making describes a more general aspect of the relation of the cogniser with its world than those more specific engagements often described as action or perception. Both action and perception are forms of sense-making. The notion of sense-making grounds a relational and affect-laden process of regulated exchanges between an organism and its environment in biological organization. of course. which are invested with significant value only after further processing. They engage in the generation of meaning in what matters to them and enact a world. This is in contrast to the view that organisms receive information from their environment in a more or less passive manner and then process it into internal representations. The clearest illustration is given by perceiving the softness of a sponge [16]. 12. including sensorimotor and neuro-dynamical forms of autonomy [4. This quality is not ‘in the . The notion of interactive autonomy implies that organisms cast a web of significance on their world [4. 10. 13]. 12. which are in fact later specializations of the activity of sense-making. 13. which is inseparable from the agent being a centre of activity in the world [4. The organism is an embodied and experiencing centre of activity in the world. De Jaegher and E. Precarious conditions are those where isolated component processes would tend to run down or extinguish in the absence of the organization of the system as a network of processes. This is the property that among the enabling conditions for any constituent process in the system there will always be one or more other processes in the system (i. An organism regulates its coupling with the environment because it aims at the continuity of the self-generated identity or identities that initiate this regulation.. 13]. Examples illustrating this point have been discussed in the enaction literature. This regulative process provides the organism with a perspective on the world. Similar constitutive and interactive properties have been proposed to emerge at different levels of identity-generation. Natural cognitive systems do not build ‘pictures’ of their world (accurate or not). there are no processes that are not conditioned by other processes in the network – which does not mean. In such a view.H. An autonomous system is defined as a system composed of several processes that actively generate and sustain an identity under precarious circumstances. 12. this naturalised dimension of significance strikes at the heart of what is to be cognitive. 7. Binding affect and cognition together at the origins of mental activity. 7. to generate an identity is to possess the property of operational closure. a cogniser is not seen as responding to environmental stimuli or satisfying internal demands. In this context. 15]. which are part of the traditional dichotomy between internal and external determinants of behaviour. The enactive approach gives the autonomous agent its proper ontological status as an emergent biological self instead of subordinating it to a passive role of obedience.e. Sense-making implies an inherently active engagement. This idea has been defended by Hans Jonas [14] and elaborated scientifically in terms of the theory of autopoiesis [4. metabolism creates a perspective of value on the world. Being a cognitive system means that exchanges with the world are inherently significant for the cogniser who engages in the creation and appreciation of meaning or sense-making in short. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation 35 enjoy by virtue of their self-generated identity as distinct entities in constant material flux. it is an activity. Like few ideas in the past.

empirical and theoretical investigations are still informed largely by a view that places the key to appropriate performance exclusively within the agent’s individual cognitive mechanisms.3 What is a social interaction? The individualistic perspective that prevails in social cognition research has already been challenged in other areas of cognitive science. shifting and emerging levels of autonomous identity. We argue that the introduction of the interactive dimension will. In social cognition research this situation should be most obvious. disembodied. most of everyday cognition happens thanks to processes involving the dynamics of the agent/environment coupling. paradoxically. This removed cognitive problem is indeed an aspect of social cognition. However we find that. it sketches the outlines of an approach that defines the social in terms of the embodiment of interaction. The interaction process is hardly ever seen as part of the mechanisms that allow embodied social skills to unfold. On the contrary. including many embodied ones. In its place. social interaction is the contextual problem-space where a socially-capable individual solves the problems of social performance. rather . what should be the central concerns of an enactive theory of social cognition? Previous approaches. In other words. De Jaegher and E. However. have tended to shoehorn the whole realm of our social capacities into the problem of figuring out someone else’s intentions out of our uninvolved individual observations of them – a Rear Window approach to the social. and joint sensemaking and its experience. Social interactions are often seen as abstract. Based on these core ideas. Lawful co-variations in this dialogue between agent and world stabilise sense-making into the perception of an object (often not detached from its use). it has unduly dominated the field at the expense of downplaying more engaged forms of interaction. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation sponge’ but in its specific response to particular probings and squeezings by appropriate bodily movements. Even work involving rich interaction dynamics (such as studies of social contingency or collaborative work [20]) is often interpreted in terms of the individual mechanisms that would be sufficient to give rise to the observed results. This chapter aims to move away from a view that centres almost exclusively on individual cognitive mechanisms. A particular encounter between an embodied ‘questioning’ and ‘probing’ agent and a ‘reacting’ and ‘responding’ segment of the world results in the perception of softness. The conjecture is very rarely made that the observed phenomena may be generated by a combination of individual mechanisms – which may in themselves be insufficient – and the right interaction dynamics.36 H. Movements are consequently at the centre of mental activity: a sense-making agent’s movements – which may include utterances – are tools for her cognizing.g. The main lesson to be drawn from such work is that there is no empirical foundation to the view that a cognitive system bears the weight of its cognitive performance on its own in an environment that is only contextual (and often abstract). 3. in snapshot views in which time-oblivious discrete actions are followed by discrete responses). such as in active perception work in AI and robotics [17-19]. and nondynamic (e. Accordingly. engagement with environmental dynamical processes is more often than not the central part of the cognitive mechanisms that render performance possible..

not just synchronisation but in general many cases of appropriately patterned behaviour. pairs of duetting tropical birds singing in antiphonal synchrony [31]). Interactions are processes extended in time with a rich structure that is only apparent at the relational level of collective dynamics. plastic and fluid … than pure phase locking” ([22]. When it appears in coupled systems. often difficult to avoid. it is rather a phenomenon that is likely to appear under a range of conditions if the coupled systems possess broadly similar properties. on the contrary. i. This is shown in a study by Schmidt and O’Brien [30] who asked pairs of subjects to avoid synchronous oscillations while swinging a pendulum with their arms. An important and widespread feature of coordination (understood as the nonaccidental correlation between two systems beyond what is expected of them) is its typical reliance on rather simple mechanisms of coupling.e. This is significant when we consider fluid social interactions. even when their coupling (the amount of influence that a system’s variables have on another’s parameters) is weak. Several physical and biological systems exhibit coordination behaviour.. However. Countless systems coordinate when coupled collectively and the phenomenon has been heavily studied in physics.g. such as mirroring. but presented a strong tendency to synchronize otherwise. In perfect synchrony (pure phase-locking) coordination is absolute (e. Kelso contrasts the ideas of absolute and relative coordination to illustrate this point [22]. De Jaegher and E. is sustained. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation 37 than complicate the picture. concepts must be introduced that will allow us to uncover the complex structure of the social interaction process. we will be in a position to make a connection between the temporal aspects of interaction and their consequences for joint and individual sense-making. They found that oscillations were uncoordinated if the subjects were not looking at each other. Coordination is also found to occur at multiple timescales [24] and adopt several forms. Such coordination is “far more variable. For example. changes and breaks down during social encounters. It is. There are many paradigmatic cases of coordination in biology. In social science. coordination does not have to be absolute or permanent. In order to progress beyond what we see as a limit on the development of a social cognition research that is properly social. We may conclude from such studies that there is no general need to postulate dedicated individual mechanisms to sustain coordination. imitation. Transitions happen from one perfectly . coordination between interactors has been extensively researched [26-29]. here we will not review this literature. p. This can only happen if one or the other adjusts either the frequency of their step or the length of their stride without necessarily walking in synchrony. When a child and an adult are walking together their natural tendency to walk at a different speed is somehow overcome and they often remain together overall. Coordination does not generally require any sophisticated skill even when cognitive systems are involved.H. individual flashing behaviour in a species of firefly in Southeast Asia is synchronised at the group level through the visual influence of the collective flashing pattern on the individuals [21]. etc. but present a general and systemic analysis of the concept of coordination in order to understand how it impacts on social cognition. Coordination may come in degrees. This organization may be grasped using the notion of coordination. 98). Once we understand how coordination arises. anticipation. in many cases simplify the explanation of social cognition. mathematical biology and dynamical approaches to cognition [22-25].

This organization corresponds to the autonomy of the interaction. as Erving Goffman says. The autonomy of social interaction is typically a fleeting one. It is a little social system with its own boundarymaintaining tendency” ([32]. the interaction process. the whole . and the encounter itself promotes coordination. relative coordination presents a broader range of options as it is not defined by strictly coherent states but global trends (such as walking together). It is a property to be found even when social encounters last just a few minutes. A social interaction has self-maintaining tendencies. An autonomous entity. This permits the identification of a specific interaction on the basis of the organization of its collective dynamics. this double link between encounter and coordination makes the collective pattern into an autonomous system according to our definition. phrases. “a conversation has a life of its own and makes demands on its own behalf. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation coordinated state to another. In its absence. By contrast. In contrast to other forms of coupling. postures and gestures aimed at establishing or repairing turns in a conversation) have the effect of facilitating its continuation. these sustained dynamics in turn constrain the range of possible coordination patterns that are likely to happen due to the fact that interactors are susceptible to change plastically as a consequence of the interaction history. crucially. During that period an encounter may exhibit the organization just described in terms of the reciprocal influence between coordination and global self-maintenance. 113). For instance. p. Is bumping into someone on a busy road a social event? The structures of coordination that may arise during couplings enable a refinement of these intuitions. De Jaegher and E. coordination patterns can affect the individuals involved so that they would tend to sustain the social encounter. heat transfer between two people in a crowd does not seem to exemplify the idea of a social encounter. emerges as social encounters acquire this operationally closed organization. And. We propose that a distinct feature of social interaction is its (temporary) tendency to sustain an encounter through patterns of coordination. or to non-coordination. However. in general. The concept of coordination will help define what a social interaction is. movements. Several ‘events’ that arise during an interaction (for instance. not all couplings between agents meet our intuitions of being social. Considering how individuals are affected by the encounter leads to an additional requirement for defining the interaction as social: individuals as interactors must not lose their own autonomy in the process (even though the encounter may enlarge or diminish the scope of individual autonomy). to individual behaviours. Coordinated patterns between the agents sustain the interaction and the interaction in turn affects the individual behaviour of the agents and invests them with the role of interactors. Individuals co-emerge as interactors contemporaneously with the interaction. This is a constitutive constraint necessary for defining the social. We may think that two cognitive systems engaged in a coupling are already interacting socially. If an encounter installs this reciprocal directed link (from coordination onto the unfolding of the encounter and from the dynamics of the encounter onto the likelihood to coordinate) the encounter becomes a social interaction. if the autonomy of an ‘interactor’ were destroyed.38 H. When there are coordination structures that help sustain the social encounter. An interaction constitutes a level of analysis not reducible. For certain currents in social science this is not new. forming an emerging level that is sustained and identifiable as long as the processes involved (or some external factor) do not terminate it.

making the engagement indistinct from non-social ones. such as mirror neurons. To illustrate this. While it lasts. The ‘other’ would become a tool. the interaction shows the organization described above in terms of the mutual influence between the individual actions and the relational dynamics. the interaction promotes individual actions that tend to maintain the symmetrical relation. In addition. without destroying in the process the autonomy of the agents involved (though the latter’s scope can be augmented or reduced). e. As a consequence. De Jaegher and E. Due to the spatial constraints of the situation. It becomes clear that interaction is not reducible to individual actions or intentions but installs a relational domain with its own properties that constrains and modulates individual behaviour. Coordinated sideways movements conserve symmetry and symmetry promotes coordinated sideways movements. coordinated shifts in position sustain a property of the relational dynamics (that of symmetry) that all but compels the interactors to keep facing one another. where the regulation is aimed at aspects of the coupling itself so that it constitutes an emergent autonomous organization in the domain of relational dynamics. thus remaining in interaction (despite. We can now see that. for explaining social understanding. This is expressed in the condition that the autonomy of the interactors must be conserved throughout the encounter so that it may be considered a social interaction.. such symmetry favours an ensuing shift into another mirroring position (there are simply not so many more moves available). in contrast. We propose the following definition of social interaction: Social interaction is the regulated coupling between at least two autonomous agents.g. Conceiving the social as a properly autonomous domain offers an important implication for fashionable theories of social cognition.H. In order to get past each other. for instance. or a problem for his individual cognition. to concentrate on atomic correlations. because it does not necessarily establish a co-regulated coupling. This is in stark contrast to the methodological individualism prevalent in today’s cognitive science [1]. the enactive perspective makes explicit the ongoing tensions between individual and social processes. Sometimes the individuals happen to move into mirroring positions at the same time creating a symmetrical coordinated relation. it is best to think of a situation where the individual interactors are attempting to stop interacting but where the interaction self-sustains in spite of this. Such a situation sometimes occurs when two people walk along a narrow corridor in opposite directions. they must adopt complementary positions by shifting to the left or to the right. They tend. an object. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation 39 process would reduce to the cognitive engagement of the other agent with his world. In this way. This style of explanation (which may have . Our definition avoids the error of considering only the social aspects of the interaction and ignoring the individual elements in it. the fact that a subject’s mirror neurons fire both on performing a goal-directed action and while perceiving someone else doing it [33]. These explanations are agnostic about the role of the interaction as a structured and structuring process. Recent embodied proposals have made heavy use of neurological mechanisms. the event of bumping into someone on a busy road is by itself not yet a social interaction. It may of course initiate a subsequent interaction. their efforts to escape from the situation). or rather thanks to.

Such a mapping may work in certain cases. It is by definition a relational question that only makes sense at the level of the collective dynamics. Instead. There is an experiential counterpart to this: we perceive some interactions as getting easier and more fluid over time. but by a “sense-giving intention” which is a “certain lack asking to be made good” (p. “my taking up of this intention is not a process of thinking on my part. 213). trying to map affect onto degrees of coordination [26]. Recovering from a breakdown in coordination takes the role of a learning event whereby new contextual significance is acquired. But how is this possible? In this section. People have looked at the connection between coordination and meaning. To transfer a correlation in social activity (by which an encounter manifests the presence of mutual understanding) into a neural correlation does little but redescribe the problem. There is an analogy here with the growth of an adaptive system. see [34. he emphasises the sense-making activity that underlies speech production. 35]) remains entrenched in the mindset of an individual attempting to figure out another. That is. Likewise. we focus on this question by examining what the picture of the social interaction process presented thus far implies for sense-making. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation its own problems. there is a spectrum of relation between coordination in interaction and individual sense-making. Merleau-Ponty [36] proposes a view that encapsulates what we propose for the more general case of sense-making in interaction. but a synchronizing change of my own existence” (ibid). the question of what is properly social about the whole situation. I partake of the sense-making of the other as it becomes. in other words. as an interlocutor. in other words. 3. De Jaegher and E. Because of the durability of such interactions. . at least partially and through a change in myself. interactors must have found themselves affected by such events in ways that allowed them to remain in interaction and occasionally finding better ways to sustain the process. and it is at this level that social understanding is for the most part manifested. and this analogy provides a context for the question we now turn to: the transformation of sense-making in social interactions. but will not capture all the complexities of social cognition. An advantage of balancing the autonomies of the interaction and the interactors is that it allows us to understand how coordination at different levels shapes the interaction throughout its history. is not set in motion by an explicit thought. A theory based on mirror-neurons could provide a snapshot of the mechanisms involved in the recognition of intentional actions. remains untouched. Arguing against a perspective on language as the sharing of representations. with an increased feeling of connectedness. Whether such a recognition happens to be part of a coordinated or un-coordinated period in the unfolding of an interaction is not a question that can be addressed in these terms. Speech. he says. We can expect interactions that have been sustained for some time to have gone through repeated loss and recovery of coordination. The question of how such a figuring out participates in and is itself shaped by coordination dynamics.40 H. Speech.4 Making sense in participation At the level of human communication. my own sense-making activity. is not alien to the general logic of sense-making.

Say B is scanning the room to find something. This example illustrates that individual sense-making can become aligned in a direction not initially intended by the interactors and that this shift in meaning can be introduced by the properties of the interaction dynamics. sense-making remains largely an individual activity that is at most modulated by the interaction. then social agents can coordinate their sense-making during interaction. B responds to this situation by expressing a similarly moderate view. It also shows that temporal coordination plays a crucial role in producing this adjustment of individual sense-making. [37]. A: That was a pretty good presentation. an interactor (A) calls the attention of an other (B) to what he cannot yet perceive. This is an intentional activity that can become expressive in social situations through embodied action. they may themselves acquire a coherence through interaction. The embodied expressiveness of this activity affects A’s sense-making and she can now purposefully modulate B’s sense-making by grabbing his attention and pointing to the lost object. we find the process of joint sense-making. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation 41 An individual cogniser is engaged in ongoing sense-making. Imagine the following dialogue taking place over a video conferencing line with an inherent delay (the implications of these kinds of glitches in communication technology have been studied by e. De Jaegher and E. sense-making in interaction fluctuates with changes in interactional coordination patterns over time. Participation is minimal in these cases. A spectrum of participation may be used to describe the different manifestations of the coherence that sense-making activities may acquire through coordination. Next on the scale of participation we have orientation: coordination of sensemaking orients one of the interactors towards a domain of significance that was already part of the other’s sense-making. even if at the start he may well have shared A’s initial enthusiasm. (Pause) A: If you’re into that kind of work. Moreover. The proposal is the following: if the regulation that sustains a social interaction happens through coordination patterns and if those patterns affect the movements – including utterances – that are the tools of individual sense-making. In fact. For example. where intentional engagements become fully shared. indicating to A a lack of a response from B when A was expecting it. defined by the highest levels of participation. Generally.H. prompted A to alter her initial praise (by justifying it in anticipation of a disagreement). Orientation can also be achieved through an extended temporal regulation of coordination. whereby new domains of sense-making may appear that were unavailable to each solitary individual. The pause. individual sense-making activities can be directly shaped by interactive coordination. I suppose someone has to do it.g. An infant . At the other end. Stern describes a relevant example of how affect is regulated between mother and infant. we may look at situations where the normal flow of an interaction is interrupted. At one extreme. To illustrate how patterns of coordination and breakdown can enter into the shared meaning of an interaction. We call this process participatory sense-making: the interactive coordination of intentional activity affecting individual sense-making. from where we have adapted this example). B: Well.

He studied this pair at weekly intervals since the baby’s first month of age. Fogel describes a filmed session between a one-year-old and his mother ([39]. if we assume for a moment that the infant is the initiator of the act. This invitation may go unperceived and the act frustrated. The change of affective state is a case of orientation according to our view. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation may be aroused by his mother repeating a phrase such as ‘I’m gonna getcha’ while extending the intervals between repetitions ([38].). But this is not the same as the situation in which the invitation is perceived and declined. He describes it as follows: “Andrew’s action has two separate motor components. . p. According to Stern. this “increases the discrepancy from the expected” for the infant and he becomes more and more excited (ibid. we open up the possibility for even richer degrees of . Before reaching Fogel’s own interpretation.42 H. Once Andrew’s arm is extended his hand remains relatively stationary and gradually opens as mother’s hand moves underneath his hand. it involves a request for her not only to orient towards the new situation. in this view. the giving is not an individual act. mother and infant seem to undergo a process of phase attraction in their temporal behaviours and expectations. First. The giving involves more than orientation of the mother’s sensemaking. Infants generally take objects from their caregiver earlier than they give things themselves. would in themselves be sufficient. The two situations are different from the perspective of the mother and this difference confirms that an invitation to participate is experienced as a request to create an appropriate closure of a sense-making activity that was not originally hers. When we remove the simplifying assumption that the infant intentionally originated the act. 20-21). we realise that he must create an opening by his action that may only be completed by the action of the mother. This orientation happens thanks to the mother’s attunement to the infant’s responses as well as the infant’s active role in sustaining the interaction dynamics. Such a hypothesis (which would need empirical verification) does not require the postulation of specialized individual mechanisms. It needs the taking in order to be completed.” In contrast to the infant simply dropping the fork in the mother’s open hand. which happens through the infant’s coordinated engagement with the mother’s tempo. p. The mechanisms involved need not be more complex than the cases of relative coordination described earlier. . 114). or the mother taking it from him. De Jaegher and E. The relational dynamics of the interaction. . The mother intends to regulate the infant’s sense-making (affect) and this makes it a case of orientation. 21). but also to create a sense-making activity that will bring the act to completion. and here Fogel describes the first recorded event of giving by the infant. In other words: to take up the invitation for an intention to be shared. p. To accept this request is to bring the ‘other half of the act’ into a successful joint activity. As in the case of the adult and child walking together. Another example of mother-infant interaction can illustrate joint sense-making (approaching the far other end of the scale of participation). The fork gently leaves Andrew’s hand as it is pulled only by the slightest contact with the mother’s moving palm (ibid. Mother and infant would not need more than a capacity to enter into a temporal interaction with an external event or object. conveying how it is a jointly constructed event (what he calls a “co-regulated activity”. his arm extends (frames 1-6) and then he releases the object (frames 7-10).).

Some of these implications are discussed in [2]. more sophisticated examples of joint sense-making than this act of giving can be found. Clearly. Moreover. making music together. it is possible to derive interesting implications from this perspective already. they do not coordinate with the unresponsive recording (which maintains intact the mother’s expressive movements). for example. Latent intentions become crystallised through the joint activity so that not only the completion of the act is achieved together. indicates that individuals rely on their partners to behave responsively in order to sustain their involvement in an interaction. Instead. the experience of alterity of an other. when at some point they are shown recordings of their mothers that were generated previously in the interaction. including its impairments [40]. we would like to focus briefly on some implications for the empirical study of social interaction. However. 3. in particular mother-infant interaction. Conceivably. teaching. De Jaegher and E. for instance for the development of social capabilities. An individual sensitivity to social contingency in two-month-olds is inferred from these results [43]. The act may then indeed result from a “co-regulation” that emanates from previous aspects of the interaction. for instance. This indicates that the infant’s recognition of the ongoingness and contingency of the interaction plays a fundamental role in its unfolding. Based on the view presented here. Candidate explanations for such a skill would require the postulation of. we may question this implication for the general case. the elaboration of joint plans. For instance. In this chapter. an innate contingency detection module [45]. A certain movement extending the fork in the direction of the mother. It also contributes to enriching the dialogue between science and phenomenology by providing theoretical insights that could ground. may now be opportunistically invested with a novel meaning through joint sensemaking. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation 43 participation. the coordination structures that sustain the interaction could themselves be part of the mechanisms that affect the infant negatively when . especially as we move into the realm of linguistic interactions. Empirical evidence. to name a few. however. Early involvement in socially contingent interactions and its implied connectedness play a fundamental role in the infant’s affective and experiential development [44]. the infants become distressed and removed. two-month-old infants are able to sustain a fluid dyadic interaction with their mothers via a live double video link. It is possible to think of examples such as the creation of private nuances in meaning between intimate friends. without yet intending to give it. However.H. Different cases may afford more complex forms of participation. suggesting that such a ‘recognition’ is necessarily performed by the individual – again a Rear Window move. as Fogel proposes. but also its initiation. such as Murray and Trevarthen’s double TV monitor experiments and its successors [41-43]. but in all of them the meaning of an act will require the coordinated participation of the interactors to be realised. it is likely that making sense in participation may at any point involve situations across the whole spectrum of participation sketched in this section. Let us take as an example the question of how infants are affected by the contingency of interaction.5 Implications The shift in emphasis towards the interaction process that we are proposing in this chapter will require more elaboration.

Interactive factors affecting coordination may be uncovered by their signature response to controlled perturbation methods. thereby. discrimination between contingent and noncontingent situations is achieved through the social process in the ongoingness of the interaction. Di Paolo / Making Sense in Participation contingency is removed. the discrimination between contingent and non-contingent conditions is achieved through the inherent higher stability of the double feedback between interactors in the contingent condition. What is called for is a methodology that will permit to map this spectrum by (1) determining the dynamical properties of coordination present in a given social interaction and (2) generating hypotheses regarding their contribution to the observed social behaviour. lie somewhere along a spectrum defined by strictly individual evaluation of interactive information at one end and purely social modulation of individual dynamics on the other. However. Their task is to locate each other in the presence of distracting objects that replicate their exact shapes and movements. In these extended models. which needs both agents to regulate its stable continuation [3]. Such tools would also allow the exploration of the mutual shaping (as well as the tension) between individual and social dynamics (corresponding to the two autonomies we propose to be present in social interaction) as an intrinsic source of (de-)stabilisation of coordination. participants find each other thanks to the fact that the interaction dynamics make them avoid the situations where confusion could arise. In general. this feedback becomes one-sided and external perturbations are now sufficient to throw the engagement out of joint and make the agent fully disengaged. The infant’s history of participatory sense-making is directly altered in the passage from the contingent to the non-contingent situation. appropriate explanations for socially interactive processes incorporate both elements and. This double feedback is enough to keep the interactors engaged even in the presence of noise or disruptions.44 H. De Jaegher and E. The successful unpacking of the contribution of the social and individual dynamics may be more easily achieved in situations when they are in conflict. The dynamics of interaction are not simply the data that an individual must evaluate. individuals are unable to distinguish the movement of another subject from the non-contingent object that imitates those movements). Response to contingency depends on the live interaction. Rather. The experiments demonstrate that they are successful at this task. Recent empirical findings and minimal social interaction models have demonstrated how the collective interaction dynamics can explain differences in individual action in cases with or without contingency. in the non-contingent condition (where the other end of the interaction is a recording). they are an integral part of the evaluation process itself. However. In these experiments and models. Presumably. Then the postulation of contingency detection mechanisms becomes optional. the results indicate that this is not achieved through an individual appreciation of contingent interaction (in fact. Experiments in minimalistic perceptual crossing have been carried out using a one-dimensional virtual space where two participants can encounter each other and other objects through the use of mouse movements and a tactile feedback device [46]. there is no a priori reason to assume that explanatory possibilities for mother-infant interaction situations have to be either purely individual or strictly social. Models of this experiment confirm this interpretation and extend it to other tasks (analogous to the double TV-monitor experiments) [3]. The .

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........................ 59 Conclusions.......... Morganti et al.......... 62 References.. embodied linguistics and gesture studies................. 49 Disembodied approaches to intersubjectivity ......... In this chapter............... four fundamental functions of the body in social interaction are identified: (1) the body as a social resonance mechanism............ 53 Illustration and discussion.. This is a centralized view of cognition that considers (social) cognition to take .............. 1-3].....2 4..........................................1 4......... but also clarifies different notions of embodiment and its role in cognition and social interaction. which is the foundation for the complexity of social life and cognition. and in particular the relational nature of mind and intersubjectivity................ The theoretical discussions are illustrated with an example from a case study of insitu embodied social interaction........ (Eds...........5 4...1 Introduction The ability to engage in social interaction is a crucial building block of human culture...............3 4..... Tom ZIEMKE Abstract................... 62 4........ social neuroscience............................ expressing and sharing thoughts......) IOS Press.. by having more or less explicit internal representations of each other [e........4 4....... 50 On the embodied nature of social interaction . the traditional information-processing approach to intersubjectivity in socio-cognitive research assumes that agents relate to each other in much the same way as they relate to other parts of the external world....e.......... Broadly speaking....................... 49 4 Interacting Socially through Embodied Action Jessica LINDBLOM... This chapter contrasts traditional...... embodied approaches.. from the perspective of embodied cognitive science................ It is concluded that the body is of crucial importance in understanding social interaction and cognition in general. Integrating a broad range of theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence from mainly social psychology................................. (2) the body as a means and end in communication and social interaction.. Based on an analysis of the shortcomings of the former........... disembodied information-processing approaches to intersubjectivity in socio-cognitive research with more recent... (3) embodied action and gesture as a ‘helping hand’ in shaping..........Enacting Intersubjectivity F............ Contents 4......... 2008 © 2008 The authors................ and (4) the body as a representational device..............g............................ we aim to clarify the role and relevance of the body in social interaction. it focuses on the latter.. with a focus on the importance of crossmodal interaction in the process of scaffolding..... All rights reserved................. i..6 Introduction............

one might say that intersubjectivity refers to the manifestation of shared meanings constructed by people in their interactions with each other.g. 4. this chapter particularly focuses on the second approach. nonverbal behavior. the traditional foundation of computationalist/functionalist cognitive science can be preserved more or less intact. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action place inside the skull. emphasizes the way cognition is shaped by the body and its sensorimotor interaction with the surrounding world [e. bodily aspects are within this theoretical framework frequently addressed in terms of nonverbal communication. discussing recent work in cognitive science and related disciplines which indicates that the body is of crucial importance in social interaction. are oversimplified and altogether neglect the many effects of embodiment. as stressed in information-processing approaches. It might be worth noting that this does not necessarily imply denying mental concepts as such (e. Clark [5]. Gallagher [4] argues that these standard information-processing models of mind as representational. It should also be noted though that there are different views within embodied cognitive science regarding in what sense. or body language. functional and/or computational. this view holds that central to intersubjectivity is first and foremost the experience of being embodied in a social. Therefore.e.50 J. on the other hand. 348]. Accordingly. intersubjectivity results in a . After some brief presentation and critical discussion of the first approach in the next section. p. distinguishes between the positions of simple embodiment and radical embodiment. 4-9]. beliefs or intentions) altogether. they may be emergent from and grounded in embodied interactions rather than an underlying requirement for cognitive processes [for more details.. cognition and intersubjectivity. peripheral ‘appendage’ to the real intellectual mind.2 Disembodied approaches to intersubjectivity Without reviewing the huge literature on intersubjectivity. on the other hand. Instead. cultural and material sphere [10]. Hence. embodied actions such as body posture. i. goes much further and treats the facts of embodiment as a fundamental shift in the explanation of cognition that is “profoundly altering the subject matter and theoretical framework of cognitive science” [5. We contrast such information-processing approaches to intersubjectivity with embodied and enactive approaches as follows. Hence. In a nutshell. i. This chapter is more in line with the latter view. The radical embodiment position. for instance. despite their complexity. Information-processing approaches to intersubjectivity are based on the assumption that the role of the body in social interaction and cognition is merely as a trivial. The embodied approach. see 10]. but rather questioning their central underlying role.g. information-processing vs. the comparison made in this chapter is between these two positions. embodied approaches to intersubjectivity.e. Lindblom and T. a physical interface between internal programs (cognitive processes) and external world. or to what extent. cognition is to be considered as embodied [9]. According to the former. and embodiment is merely considered a constraint of the ‘inner’ organization and processing. gaze and gesture are still commonly considered to be nothing but the visible outcomes of mental intentions and contents which are transmitted from one mind to another. with the body only serving as some kind of input and output device.

In a similar vein. 15. “such a shift will … release biological and psychological . the dance metaphor focuses on dynamically emerging. As stressed by Ingold [17. They stress that such interactions cannot be reduced to so-called ‘social information transfer’. addresses two major problems with the traditional view. which characterizes social cognition as follows: “Social-cognitive research. From the above definitions. the information-transmission metaphor fails to reveal the full story of social interaction. The main point here is that information is not a predefined and discrete entity which can be sent. According to Shanker and King [15]. from mainly using the information transmission metaphor. 13]. the nature of mental representation and the dynamics of information-processing are central topics of social-cognitive inquiry” [3. feelings. with its adherence to the information-transmission metaphor. intentions. Generally speaking. there is a separation between beliefs. p. social cognition is the part of social psychology that deals with the psychological mechanisms that mediate the individual’s response to the social environment. because it significantly oversimplifies and misrepresents what actually happens in social interaction. To understand interactive minds we have to understand how thoughts. xvii].g.J. It is probably safe to say that within socio-cognitive research. A good example of this view is found in The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. that is. 1-3. and the actual behavior of social interactions. 627]. However. the dance metaphor focuses on the emergence of information in the dyad between embodied agents. intentions. p. However. instead of discrete and linear processes as in the informationtransmission metaphor. to mention just a few. Gibbs [14]. 16]. In other words. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 51 basic discrimination between the self and others as well as the ability to compare and project one’s own private experiences or cognitive states with those of another person. and certainly still the dominant one. the informationprocessing view of social interaction still is the most common one. it has been suggested that intersubjectivity is the cradle of social interaction and cognition [11. Broadly speaking. Singer. Wolpert and Frith [13] claim: “… the study of social interaction involves by definition a bi-directional perspective and is concerned with the question of how two minds shape each other mutually through reciprocal interactions. the traditional view of human intentions as exclusively private mental states in individual minds ignores the dynamic. 66]. to applying the so-called dance metaphor [10. As such. This implies that social interaction is a rather passive process between two Cartesian minds. 12]. it is obvious that much research in the social domain takes an information-processing approach [e. is fundamental to the study of process. and beliefs can be transmitted from one mind to the other … how to communicate these thoughts” [13. etc. Lindblom and T. Broadly speaking.. Firstly. as Gallagher [4] puts it. for instance. p. criticism against this view has been put forward by a number of researchers [14-18]. a stimulating shift has occurred in socio-cognitive research. through signals. creative co-regulated interaction in a particular social situation. from one agent across time and space to another agent in the form of internal mental representations. interactive nature of intentional action.

pointed out that the traditional metaphor of communication is wrong. but the focus on individuals’ intentions by rather reflects a Western white middle-class bias regarding the nature of selfhood than a universal phenomenon. This means. 56]. The next sections .52 J. When the caretaker comes to help the child. It therefore might be argued that individual intentionality is one of the ‘holy cows’ of Western thought which overemphasizes the individual’s psychological state at the expense of the social context in which the actions unfold [14]. information is neither pre-given nor hidden internally. In line with the dance metaphor. there is no ‘transmitted information’ in communication”. caregivers ‘bootstrap’ and scaffold them into a socio-cultural environment. can be regarded as a disembodied sender-receiver explanation of pregiven information. p. since “biologically.e. Lindblom and T. much of cognition previously hidden ‘inside’ the skull has now become apparent. the distributed cognition approach [19] expands the unit of analysis and focuses on “real-time” interactions between the various interactants and their environment. for instance. 196]. i. The individual movement ‘in itself’ in its social context becomes a gesture ‘for-others’. not from the desired object. but emerges as an outcome of their on-going social interactions. the meaning of the gesture situation itself changes as the child’s failed reaching attempt provokes a reaction. and nothing more. the salience of the body … that is missing in many theories of meaning”. there is a need for alternative explanations of social interaction that address the issue from an embodied perspective. the intention of pointing initially does not reside within the child’s individual mind. and then begins addressing its gestures towards other people. Thus. is its biological implausibility and disembodiment. by treating children as intentional beings. after a while the child also becomes aware of the communicative function of its movements. The underlying assumption in the traditional view is not shared across different cultures [14]. A similar argument was put forward by Fogel [16. p. This means. Taken together. whereas the child itself at the time is not actually aware of its communication ability. since the traditional view. With this crucial change in perspective. Another criticism against the traditional view. but can emerge in the interaction and be manifested in visible embodied actions. The study of the social context. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action studies of communication from the straightjacket of hard-core cognitivism”. Secondly. Maturana and Varela [18. p. Accordingly. contrary to viewing cognition as mainly internal processes. He claimed that what an observer might perceive as pointing initially is only a simple and incomplete grasping movement directed toward a desired object. “the grasping movement changes to the act of pointing” [21. has strong historical roots in the work of Mead [20] and Vygotsky [21]. This means. instead of focusing on mental structures in individual minds. which partly rests on the ‘illusion of intentionality’. However. missing contextual and bodily aspects. social interactions are considered to be directly observable cognitive events. which we refer to as relational. the work of cultural anthropologists addresses another problem with the traditional view. a socially meaningful communicative act. but from the other person. not addressed by [14]. in a nutshell. Vygotsky’s [21] example of the development of pointing in the child illustrates the relational aspect of social interaction. 76] who stated that “information is created in the interface between perception and action … It is that last point. The caretaker interprets the child’s reaching movement as a kind of pointing gesture. rather than the object of interest that was its primary focus initially.

[24]. and why that might be crucial for social interaction and cognition. These findings are then generalized to four fundamental functions of the body in social interaction [10. People often mimic behaviors. which made the subjects rate the cartoons as funnier. subjects primed with concepts commonly associated with elderly people (e. it has been reported that high school students who received good grades in an exam adopted a more erect posture than students who received poor grades. e. rubbing the nose or shaking a foot. For example. have identified the following four kinds of social embodiment effects for which there is plenty of empirical evidence (for details see [24] and [25]) and the many references therein). social neuroscience. ‘bingo’. and material sphere. Thirdly. Firstly. ranging from disciplines such as social psychology. ‘gray’.g. and gesture studies to linguistics. which means that embodiment not only facilitates a response to social stimuli but also produces tentative stimuli. Fourthly. phenomenology. Moreover. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 53 elaborate in some more detail on these objections. but also bodily states. particularly regarding why it might be more fruitful to consider humans as embodied cognizers situated in a social.1 Social embodiment effects Semin and Smith [23] point out that empirical findings in social psychology and current research on embodied cognition have a lot in common. Lindblom and T. perceived social stimuli do not only produce cognitive states. which is widely documented in the literature. bodily postures influence the subjects’ affective state. bodily states produce affective states. cultural.g. whereas holding the pen between the lips activated the same muscles as frowning and consequently had the opposite effect. Barsalou et al. 4. 4. For example.3. For instance. Secondly. subjects in an upright position experienced more pride than subjects in a slumped position.g. for example. compatibility between bodily and cognitive states enhances performance. The latter triggered the same musculature as smiling. Several other studies also show similar effects.. the observation of bodily states in others often results in bodily mimicry in the observer. Here we briefly address different perspectives and empirical findings.J. as compared to a control group primed with neutral words. ‘wrinkles’) exhibited embodiment effects such as slower movement when leaving the experimental lab. Subjects also tend to mimic observed facial expressions.. and subjects often mimic an experimenter’s actual behavior. several motor performance compatibility effects have been reported in experiments in which subjects responded faster to ‘positive’ . given that several interesting phenomena in social psychology can be explained from an embodied perspective. e.3 On the embodied nature of social interaction Many recent findings in cognitive science and related disciplines indicate that the body has several important roles in social interaction and cognition. In another experiment. 22]. subjects rated cartoons differently when holding a pen between their lips than when holding it between their teeth.

simulation theories and work on mirror neurons are good examples of more radically embodied views (in Clark’s above sense). i. [25]. Lindblom and T.2 Social neuroscience Recent findings in social neuroscience provide strong evidence for an embodied interpretation of intersubjectivity. Similarly. but also the conceptualization and understanding of intersubjectivity and language. others studied how such head movements influence the attitudes towards a pen placed on the table in front of the participants during the cover story of testing head phones. 4. the participants favored the pen that correlated with the developed attitude. the simulation account argues that cognitive processes are achieved by the reactivation of the same neural structures used for physically sensing. ‘hate’) when asked to pull a lever towards them. however. moving and manipulating the environment. Gallese’s [31] theory of the shared manifold of intersubjectivity. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action words (e. and it has been suggested that so-called mirror neurons function as the neurobiological underpinning for these social embodiment effects. the nodding participants chose the ‘old’ pen.3. Afterwards. as pointed out by Gallagher [4].g. In short. as well as many other studies. emphasize that empirical studies show that bodily postures and motoric activities. These examples. and emotions.g. Proponents of simulation theories hold that social understanding essentially is the ability to project oneself into another person’s point of view.e. social perception. the simulation account argues that cognitive processes are achieved by the reactivation of the same neural structures used for physically sensing. nodding in agreement or shaking in disagreement. such as attitudes. moving and acting in the environment. 1 . Niedenthal et al. ‘love’) than ‘negative’ words (e. p. a naïve experimenter offered the ‘old’ pen that had been placed on the table during the experiment or a ‘new’ pen the subjects had not seen before. such as nodding heads (in agreement) or shaking heads (in disagreement) are related with positive or negative preferences and action predispositions toward objects. For instance. bridging the troubled water of social cognitive neuroscience and phenomenology through a direct mapping is no viable approach. In short. the bi-directional swapping between these states occurs automatically without higher knowledge structures. because “there is no short cut that can bypass the effects of embodiment” [4. some of the abovementioned researchers focus explicitly on traditional conceptions in social psychology. that this view should not be misinterpreted as claiming there is a direct correlation between so-called ‘objective’ neurological states in the brain and ‘subjective’ phenomenological experience On the contrary.54 J. 244]. The capacity to simulate requires an ability to imitate the ‘inner states’ of another person and it has been supposed that the body and its sensorimotor processes can be used as a linking device when perceiving others1. Depending on the performed head movements. as discussed in more detail in the following. demonstrate that there is a strong relation between embodied and cognitive states in social interaction. In other words. In short. but also in social interaction and cognition [26-31]. These findings suggest that the body might be used as a resonance mechanism in the process of perceiving others. simulating what it is like to be in the other person’s situation [28-32]. for example. proposes that all kinds of It should be noted. In more recent work. for example.. whereas the head-shaking participant preferred the ‘new’ one.

. despite the fact that the monkey did not see the actual hand-object interaction. In later studies. i. which exemplify how perception. linking ’action’ and ’action-perception’. at a basic level. is to consider embodied simulation as offline representation. The mirror neuron system. it has been argued that the mirror system functions as a kind of action representation. provides an alternative solution. This means. however. That is. This means. may constitute the foundation for intentionality. but its crucial and final part. a hand-grasping movement. Since mirror neurons respond in both conditions. might come together at the level of single neurons. This means. the description of an action and the interpretation of the reason why that particular action is performed have been considered to rely on two different mechanisms. In the hidden condition. was invisible. the internal replication of agent-environment interaction for issues beyond the “here and now”. i.e. Such a mirroring mechanism might enable an agent to understand the meaning of the observed action by embodied reactivation. the ability to infer the forthcoming new goal is already ‘there’ in the mirror neuron system and explaining intentionality by two different mechanisms is both . for example.. the goal of the action was still hinted at. so called logically related mirror neurons. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 55 interpersonal relations depend. a neural ‘triggering’ event in fact takes place in the observer. namely hidden and full visual scenes [33]. Lindblom and T. Simulation is presumably accomplished through the “sharing” of neural mechanisms between sensorimotor processes and higher-level processes. on the foundation of a shared manifold space characterized by routines of embodied simulations. embodied simulation processes can function as offline representations. the mirror neurons are able to compensate for the missing ‘information’. even while only observing the actions of another individual. the monkey was able to see the entire action. being part of a particular type of visuo-motor neurons found in pre-motor cortex of the macaque monkey brain. so-called mirror neurons. More recent work on the activation of the mirror neuron system has been performed in specific contexts (such as before and after drinking tea) [34]. This means. generally speaking. might need to be revised. Traditionally. mirror neurons have been investigated under two conditions.J. Such an understanding may rely on a resonance mechanism. action. an important factor in understanding the embodiment of higherlevel cognition. given that the gap of missing visual information is filled by reactivating the complete action. however. and still seem to interpret the actual goal of the action. the same action was carried out. In the visual condition. and the monkey merely ‘knew’ that the target object was present.e. Mirror neurons are located in area F5 in the monkey brain and become activated both when performing specific goal-directed hand (and mouth) movements and when observing or hearing about the same actions [26-28]. and social cognition. demonstrated that more than half of the mirror neurons responded in the hidden condition [33]. given that logically related mirror neurons automatically code the motor acts that are most expected to follow the observed action in a particular context [34]. the interaction with the actual object. the linking between action and perception offers an ‘intuitive’ first-person understanding of the observed action. This implies that the intention behind the action actually was mediated. [32]. The result. According to Svensson [32]. The study indicates that a certain kind of mirror neurons. Accordingly. Such accounts show that the traditional strong division between perception and action as well as between sensorimotor and cognitive processes.

Rather. Lindblom and T. p. 38]. 4. verbal versus non-verbal interaction) in linguistics may be bridged from an embodied perspective. linking action. All in all. but it actually clarifies one of the fundamental aspects of intersubjectivity. suggest that the human communicative and linguistic capacity is a natural extension of action recognition based on mirror neuron mechanisms. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action unnecessary and biologically implausible. Hence. Furthermore.e. for instance. p. emerged from area F5 in the monkey brain. Another study [35] implies that information of intentions might be conveyed also by the grasping action itself. involved in gesture and language processes. they generally differ in how they carry meaning [4. whole-hand prehension) to predict others’ intentions. Their data suggests that the human mirror neuron system uses both contextual and action-type information (precision-grip vs. as well as when there is no proper word at hand for the actual meaning to be conveyed. help constitute thought…Gestures occur. thought and cognition. As Rizzolatti [26] points out. Gestures. which in . Several researchers have demonstrated converging empirical evidence which suggests that the systems of hand and mouth movements are not two separate systems. Based on these findings. for instance. Despite the close connection between gesture and speech in language. 37. together with language. In other words. grounded in a common underlying thought process. Arbib [36]. through maturation as well as socially scaffolded interaction.3. according to this way of thinking. there are indications that mirror neuron activity is linked to social competence [35]. suggests that the mirror system provides the causal mechanism for basic intentional interaction and thus might constitute the foundation of human language. 166]. the epistemological divide (i. 245]. McNeill [37]. emphasizing that “[g]estures do not just reflect thought but have an impact on thought.. This provides a tentative explanation of why and how the human Broca’s area. it is obvious that the mirror neuron mechanism itself is unable to explain the whole complexity of speech and human language. namely how interacting partners are able to share the communicated meaning of a dialogue. because they are a part of the speaker’s ongoing thought process” [37. Gallese stresses “there is now enough empirical evidence to reject a disembodied theory of the mind as biologically implausible” [32. to more advanced forms.56 J. such as gesture and language. however. Gesture offers alternative ways of expressing ideas that are hard to articulate in speech. gestures can present different pieces of information simultaneously. the mirror neuron system and simulation processes might develop further. it has been speculated that the mirror system might be a basic mechanism necessary for imitation and attributing mental states to others [26-35]. proposed that speech and gesture form a single system of communication. for example. the consideration of the mirror neuron system and simulation theories as the neurobiological underpinning of social interaction and cognition provides significant examples of more ‘radically’ embodied views of intersubjectivity.3 Embodied linguistics In addition to action recognition. Rizzolatti and Arbib [27]. Furthermore. mirror neurons are also considered to be involved in more complex social actions. This implies that during the course of ontogeny. they should be viewed as an integrated communicative “speechlanguage-gesture” system.

Mead’s loop creates a connection of gesture to discourse. for example. but not necessarily conflicting meaning [38]. 250]. as a way of co-opting areas 44 and 45 in Broca’s area. Gallagher [41]. this co-opted system seems to be part of a circuit for recognizing intentional goal-directed actions from one’s own actions or from others. . p. one directly perceives or immediately ‘sees’ the meaning in the action/gesture. Gallagher [4] emphasizes the fundamental difference between instrumental acts (e. In other terms. According to McNeill. 27. emphasizes that the gestures accompanying speech are symbolic acts that convey meaning. speech and gesture in the course of joint action in evolution. whereas area 45 is the part of Broca’s area that contains many mirror neurons.. which McNeill suggests became selfresponding to one’s own actions. as previously described in Vygotsky’s pointing example can partly be explained neurologically by Mead’s loop. gesture is a natural part of communication. During the course of phylogeny.g. without the need to model it at a higher cognitive level. because those actions have representational content. In a similar vein. and the generation of a gesture signifying the very action of opening a jar or picking up the glass. the crucial shift in the function of mirror neurons occurred when they began to respond to significances other than the actions themselves. it has been argued that gestures also have representational properties. In other words. subsequently imbuing them to contain meaning. emphasizes the double characteristic of language. It should be stressed. His main point is that the relevant neural systems “are activated by the other person’s action”. when one sees another person’s action or gesture. argues that phenomenologically. Accordingly. that McNeill emphasizes the relational nature of the mirror neuron system which.. providing the basis for recognizing the actions of others. a way of reacting in your own actions similarly to the actions of others. McNeill refers to Mead whom argued that “[g]estures become significant symbols when they implicitly arouse in an individual making them the same response which they explicitly arouse in other individuals” [40. in our opinion. Nevertheless. Lindblom and T. Thus. Goldin-Meadow [38]. Thus. “the other person has an effect on us” [41.e. and enables people to embody their thoughts in action.g. meaningfulness emerges from the ability to activate a social reaction of another in yourself. which is a cognitive and possibly a communicative function that requires the generation and expression of meaning [4]. In other words.J. Brain area 44 is mainly responsible for the organization of action sequences. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 57 speech would need to be expressed sequentially. 39]. many researchers still overlook the integrated nature of speech and gesture in the evolution of human language [e. the shift in social interaction. Goldin-Meadow also discovered that speech and gesture convey different information. which McNeill denotes Mead’s loop. This means. gesturing also has the important role of activating our own mirror neuron system. Hence. p. is overlooked in many other theories. i. Furthermore. the act of gesture achieves an entirely different function than the actual grasping or opening. opening a jar or reaching out to pick up a glass). these two systems became co-opted in order to unite gesture and vocalization [40]. on the contrary. 8-9]. for example. given that this relational characteristic is also present in speech. McNeill [40]. as well as offering oneself the ability to take the role/perspective of the other simultaneously [40].

expressing and sharing thoughts. to some degree. [24] and others shows [25]. Hence. mouth and language together. Bodily actions and gestures function as a helping hand in shaping.. 21]. Lindblom and T. The body functions as a social resonance mechanism suggests that there is no need to decode or represent embodied social stimuli to more ’advanced’ or cognitive states since the bodily states in themselves actually are cognitive states. viewing the function of the body ‘as a means and end’ offers a tentative explanation of that particular linkage.58 J. this first function characterizes how cognitive/bodily states of interacting partners are reflected both in themselves and in-between them at a basic level. 4. Instead. The body functions as a representational device. four fundamental functions of embodiment in social interaction can be identified [for more details. as the work of Barsalou et al.4 Four fundamental functions of the body in social interaction In summary. demonstrate there is a strong relation between embodied and cognitive states in social interaction. occur automatically without the involvement of higher knowledge structures. The suggested linkage between ’action’ and ’action-perception’ provided by the mirror neuron system implies that the body and its sensorimotor processes are ‘cognitive’ in themselves. Hence. is the inbuilt dual ability of grasping both the ‘what’ and ‘why’ aspects of the present action. The examples presented in this chapter. beside its parsimony. together with other bodily mechanisms. what the action is about as well as catching the intention behind the movement. while the function of the body ‘as a resonance mechanism’ simply means that cognitive and bodily states of the interacting partners are reflected in both themselves and in-between them. The body functions as a means and end in communication and social interaction.e. The great benefit of this actionunderstanding linkage. From a radically embodied perspective. this second function stresses how bodily actions operate both outwardly and inwardly in meaning-making activity. e. see 10. the work presented in the previous sections offers highly complementary rather than alternative views on the role of embodiment in intersubjectivity. since the bi-directional exchange between these states as well as between the interacting partners. Based on the previous discussions and empirical findings. overlapping. might function as the glue that binds hand. the activation and/or reactivation of the mirror neuron system. in a social and cultural sphere. it does not explain the relationship between their first-hand and third-hand experiences in social interaction. as well as other studies. i.3. through Mead’s loop. The body functions as a social resonance mechanism. However.. It should be noted that these fundamental functions are not fixed. during both online and offline interactions.g. By integrating these perspectives. thereby unifying the ‘inside and ‘outside’ perspectives of . we can obtain a deeper understanding without bypassing the effects of embodiment. The body functions as a means and end in communication and social interaction. and. The functions of the body as a ’resonance mechanism’ and also ‘a means and end’ might seem quite similar. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action This implies that bodily actions might be of crucial importance in the process of intersubjectivity.

which can offer new insights to the present situation or problem at hand. manual gesture is a significant (embodied) aspect of meaning-making activity. In addition to speech.. since gesture offers speakers the means of expressing thoughts difficult to articulate in speech. see 10]. In this episode the head of the ranch. Bodily actions and gesture function as a helping hand in shaping. In summary. since it is meaningful in itself.4 Illustration and discussion The previous section has summarized some of the arguments for the view that it is first and foremost the enacted body. gesture. In order to further illustrate this view. The examples are from the first author’s fieldwork on a horse ranch that maintains and preserves Spanish mustang horses [for more details. Through gesturing. It should be pointed out that throughout the following analysis the earlier identified four functions of the body in social interaction are used as the underpinnings for describing and explaining how embodiment is part and parcel of social interaction and cognition. facial expression. can be considered as representations in a strict sense. The neurological roots of this ability might be the activity of the mirror neurons. whereas the second function rather focuses on ‘how’ this is accomplished. since mirror neurons seem to ‘understand’ the goal of the action. is telling the visitors about the different places that nowadays keep herds of horses originating from the ranch’s herds. Lindblom and T. They are. In other words. the internal reactivation of “agentenvironment-interaction”. suggesting that hand movements are physical externalizations of the speaker’s ideas.J. 4. there is the more controversial claim that non-vocal embodied action also has representational properties. that constitute the roots of social interaction and cognition. however. gesture sometimes serves as an explicit instance of the action-meaning embodied in speech. tone of voice. i. we are able to generate and embody dynamical associations between different matters. portraying representational aspects. We here briefly illustrate and discuss the role of scaffolding [42-43] (see Figure 1). Besides speech. the previously portrayed function of embodiment in social interaction mostly stresses ‘that’ the body and its sensorimotor processes function as a social resonance mechanism. Furthermore. where certain kinds of gesture. some frame-by-frame analyzed images from an episode of spontaneous social interaction captured in situ are presented in the following. expressing and sharing thoughts. bodily posture.e. are the most obvious examples of the body as an external representational device. Bob. not always mentioned explicitly throughout the analysis. and the experiences that come from its situatedness in a social and cultural sphere. which can provide important information to the listener. it can be argued that the grasping of the action does not require a declarative understanding. reflect the significance of cross-modal embodied actions in social interaction. since this . all his bodily actions. The body functions as a representational device. in the form of embodied simulation. speech as well as gaze. since their linkage between ‘action’ and ‘actionperception’ suggests a kind of ‘action representation’ that is directly enacted in social interaction. In addition. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 59 socially embodied interaction. Furthermore.

That is. Bob uses his fingers as scaffolds in several ways. are manifested in speech as well as gesture simultaneously. the very action and experience of moving/touching his fingers actually brings forth the names. thus indicating and highlighting the central information in the utterance in both speech and gesture. by using one’s fingers as representational devices during the enumeration of the places. Bob counting on his fingers Third. Taken together. the tapping action is flawlessly integrated with the speech utterance of the name of the location. That is. That is. By using his fingers he creates and experiences action- . the movement shows the status of the act of remembering. situated at seven locations. In total. First. through slight tapping actions. by facilitating the shaping of the numbers and locations. The explanation thus far focuses on what one might term individual scaffolding. this strategy has far more wide reaching consequences than stated above. he uses his fingers as a means to put the places in order. given that the actual gestures are signs of another aspect other than the actual tapping movement. there are nine different herds. More specifically. in order to re-enact/remember the different locations. this example demonstrates the act of scaffolding. moving. For each location. the act of moving his fingers functions as a way of shaping and expressing thoughts. he touches his fingers in a certain order as a way to inform himself to keep track of the places.60 J. These tapping actions signify the representational aspect of gesturing and therefore convey meaning in their own way. However. and contacting his fingers facilitate the process of remembering the locations and their names. Lindblom and T. and then touches the other hand’s finger. Throughout the enumeration of different places. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action would result in many unnecessary reiterations rather than adequate descriptions and analyses of the interactions at hand. Figure 1. the very actions of moulding. That is. instead of functioning as a way of externalizing the already existing names of the places. the number and location. Bob’s cognitive strategy of off-loading the act of remembering into a visual and external representational format through embodied actions is very obvious and observable in the above examples. but it should be noted that Bob is actually both in relation with himself and with the others. the two most important aspects of the utterances. the tapping actions serve as a way to keep track of the different locations. given that in the precise moment when he has figured out the name of the location. he stops moving the current finger. Second.

stressing the relational aspect of social interaction and cognition that is profoundly manifested in our embodiment. This means. most of the enumeration and the act of remembering is an intra-personal interaction. The tiny movement and touching of Bob’s fingers when he uses them as scaffolds in the naming of the herds. Indeed. p. Thus. According to Clark.and inter-communicative. the effects of embodiment do the job for us. in Mead’s loop. Bob’s enumeration is a significant example of what Clark [44] refers to as surrogate situatedness. 233]. What role and relevance do they actually have if they are not used for social interaction and communication in the first place? Our tentative answer to these questions is that these actions are not first and foremost inter-communicative. these strategies allow human cognition to be disengaged while at the same time offering a concrete place in which to organize action-perception couplings of an essentially real world-like kind of interaction. in which every embodied action he makes creates a spectrum of embodied experiences to him. one might ask – why do humans perform such actions so frequently when they are almost ‘invisible’ and therefore not necessarily communicative in any obvious way. gesture and language are displayed but their relational characteristics are the same – they are both external actions that we can act upon in the public sphere and internal embodied actions used to organize and structure our internal and sometimes abstract and decoupled thinking.J. are almost ‘invisible’ and perceived unconsciously in real time. but there is also an inter-personal theme present. For instance. Lindblom and T. Due to the ways our cognition is embodied. the embodied nature of social interaction and cognition unifies the individual and social perspectives. given that the actual movements provide him with the kinesthetic experience of movement as well as the felt sense of touching when he grips and senses his fingers during the enumeration of places. either with themselves or with other interactants or objects. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 61 perception loops through his body. 236] and there is no sharp line between so-called online versus offline cognition. Thus. Furthermore. though still grounded in embodied experience. This means. and is accomplished by the activation of his own mirror neuron system through Mead’s loop. “human reason is … disengaged but not disembodied” [44 p. whenever people act/think/communicate they are always in interaction. he constructs and experiences sensory-motor information at the same time through the crossmodal integration of his embodied being. but also function inwardly. given that both processes are running in parallel. According to Clark. This type of relational embodied scaffolding functions as a way of being in dialogue with oneself as well as with others. Additional evidence in favor of this interpretation emerges during the frame-byframe analysis of the actions. . Thus. they are both intra. the body ‘knows’ and ‘grasps’ directly what is going on. He argues that humans create and use human-built structures in order to transform the space of higher-level cognition. Broadly speaking. and stresses that “we actively create restricted artificial environments that allow us to deploy basic perception-actionreason routines in the absence of their proper objects” [44.

The embodied mind. 2003. [2] Z. King. The emergence of a new paradigm in ape language research. Minding the Body – interacting socially through embodied action. and mind: Embodiment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. the key to this coherent union is the way our social mind is embodied. [9] T. Cambridge. (pp. 4. [18] H. (pp. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. J. Developing through relationships. Lakoff & M. Wolpert & C. 1999. Social cognition. Cambridge: MA: MIT Press. [8] F. V. Bråten. 2002. Ingold. Gibbs. the ways humans are embodied imply that one’s own understanding of social interaction is more than the exchange of communication signals between disembodied information-processors. J. 261-276. Chicago: Chicago University Press. the social dimension meets the physiological dimension. Sweden. and situated in the social sphere. In P. Gibbs. 1999. (pp. a fact that should not be neglected or trivialized. 2002. Doctoral dissertation. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Early Social Cognition. xiii-xxvii). In C. Oxford: Oxford University Press. N. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 605-656. 2007. Quinn. Participants perception of others’ acts. Mind. [7] G. Gallagher. Body. . 9 (3). Social cognition. Culture & Psychology. 1995. Philosophy in the flesh.6 References [1] M. Intentions as emergent products of social interactions. Behavioral & Brain Sciences. 1999. 345-351. As discussed in this chapter. The Neuroscience of Social Interaction. [16] A. 3(9). Frank (Eds. self and society. Lindblom. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 4. A. thus ‘reaping the best of both worlds’ without neglecting the effects of embodiment for social interaction. Ziemke. H. Striano. and in many situations they can be viewed as distributed phenomena rather than as individual private mental acts or properties. C. What ties all these issues together is the idea of the social mind as being relational. Fogel. interdisciplinary theoretical foundation for studying the embodied nature of social interaction and cognition. [20] G. Thompson & E. Social cognition. That means. 2006. Social-cognitive development in the first year. 2005. Shanker & B. London: Sage.). meaning and intentions are emergent products of socially embodied interaction.3-34). Intentions and Intentionality. Boston: Shambhala. Behavioral & Brain Sciences. An embodied cognitive science? Trends in Cognitive Sciences. The tree of knowledge. 2004. E. [14] R. Cambridge. 2001. What further unites all these issues. ‘radically’ embodied. Instead. Clark. W. [3] K.. Moses & D. [5] A. MA: MIT Press. Hutchins. L. University of Linköping/University of Skövde. [15] S. F. Rochat & T. Rosch. How the body shapes the mind. New York: Basic Books. Introduction. Wolpert. [10] J. and we have tried to present an integrated.66-73).Varela. To summarize.). J. as hand occurs in glove. Communication and communion. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Maturana & F. Cognition in the wild. Malle. Embodiment and cognitive science. J. A. Augoustinos & I. 1993. is how profoundly embodiment shapes social interaction and cognition through unfolding socially embodied actions in social and cultural contexts. Johnson. Lindblom and T. D. 25(5). ISBN 978-91-85831-48-7.. MA: MIT Press. W. 2007 [11] S. 627-628. In B. [13] T. 2003. [17] T. [4] S. 105-122. Frith. [19] E. [12] P. Macrae & G.1. Varela. Frith & D. 1934. Rochat (Ed. Kunda. Zlatev & R. MA: MIT Press. Jr. Mead. Mahwah.). Jr. 1991.62 J. Singer. 1995. [6] R. language. 1987. Cambridge. Walker. 1999. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. 25. Bodenhausen.5 Conclusions The aim of this chapter has been to clarify the role and relevance of the body in social interaction and cognition. London: Macmillan. Baldwin (Eds. G.

Zlatev & R. Fadiga. (pp. S. 8 (9). E.). 175-183.) Body. Interfaces of social psychology with situated and embodied cognition. [33] M. 2002. imitating and influencing the actions of others. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. R. Gallese. McNeill. [39] J. Frith & D. 1. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 2007. [31] V. Rizzolatti. 1998. 529-535. P. ISBN 978-91-85831-83-8. 17. Social Neuroscience. [42] D. 241-270). A. J. 2005. Molnar-Szakacs. Social embodiment. Kaplan & M. Arbib. 2007. Niedenthal. [43] M. V. [28] V. M. [24] L. W. The manifold nature of interpersonal relations: the quest for a common mechanism. 2007.) The neuroscience of social interaction: decoding. Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. [27] G. A. 2005. Bruner & G. S. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. R. L. V. I. 1. Artificial Life.Umiltà. Zlatev. 419-421. Iacoboni. The role of tutoring in problem-solving. 2005. 188-194. Social Neuroscience. Niedenthal. 2005. Language within our grasp. Grasping the intentions of others with one’s own mirror neuron system. [35] T.A. C. Six views of embodied cognition. Ziemke. [44] A. [26] G. 2001. MA: Harvard University Press. 210. [23] G. (pp. Hearing gesture. Mind in society. A. Barsalou. (2001) “I know what you are doing”: a neurophysiological study.Rizzolatti. [30] J. University of Linköping/University of Skövde. Chicago: Chicago University Press. MA: Belknap Press. 2002. (pp. Zlatev. (pp. [34] M. C. 2007. [38] S. Ziemke J. 43-92). Sweden. Embodied simulation as off-line representation. 385-396. Mahwah. 11. 2004. Rizzolatti. 1992. In C. Krath-Gruber & F. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation. Cognitive Systems Research. Svensson. In T. 2005. Goldin-Meadow. Iacoboni. 2005. [32] H. language. Ziemke. Wilson. 105-167. (pp. Ruppert.Keysers & G. 9(4). Rizzolatti. Mazziotta & G. 3(3):e79. Frank (Eds. Trends in Neurosciences. CA: Academic Press. Barbey & J. 1976. 2004. Lindblom & T. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Ross. 1978. Beyond the flesh: some lessons from a mole cricket. Hand and mind. J. 1-13. Vygotsky. 184211. language. Ziemke. and mimesis. Fogassi. The mirror neuron system and its function in humans. McNeill. Embodiment. Embodiment in attitudes. Body. Gesture and thought.Gallese. Embodiment and social interaction: implications for cognitive science. 1(3-4). Gallese. Anatomical Embryology. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Smith. S. Frank (Eds. M. & R. [36] M. Wood. Ziemke. [37] D. 477-482).). Lindblom and T. 2007. 9(3). Gallagher. C. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Lindblom. [22] J. Ric. Getting a grip on other minds. G. 32. In B. 91-101. L. [25] P. 625-636. (pp. Frank (Eds. Gallese. 297-337). Clark. 28. Neuron. San Diego. Embodied action as a ‘helping ‘ hand in social interaction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Ross (Ed. language. and mind: Embodiment. In: T. Ziemke / Interacting Socially Through Embodied Action 63 [21] L. Barsalou. Cambridge. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. J. A unifying view of the basis of social cognition. and mind: Embodiment. K. Lindblom & T. PLoS Biology. 2006.J. Body. Personality and Social Psychology Review. Keysers & G. Making sense of embodied cognition: simulation theories of shared neural mechanisms for sensorimotor and cognitive processes. 89-100. Zlatev & R. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2. 21. Arbib. Semin & E. Rizzolatti & M. Kohler.129162). Winkielman. 398-403.). Simulation trouble. [29] H. 2003. L. In T.159-182). 233-244.1. and emotion. . Cambridge. Licentiate thesis. and mind: Embodiment. H. P. [41] S. J. Wolpert (Eds. Svensson. 2006. 2003. From monkey-like action recognition to human language: An evolutionary framework for neurolinguistics. 43. 3(3).W. social perception. A. Buccino. [40] D. J. language.

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particularly concerning the extent to which other apes are able to reach human levels of shared meaning...................... 2]................... For example.... a pointer is not what makes an act declarative (or imperative) and we examine this mentalistic picture of the mind that guides the work of theorists who claim to be advancing very different explanations of early social cognition.....4 5.... for example...........................................3 5.. LEAVENS..Enacting Intersubjectivity F......................2 5...... 67 Drawing undrawable conclusions ....... 65 5 Conceptual and Methodological Issues in the Investigation of Primate Intersubjectivity Timothy P....) IOS Press........... Contents 5...... as a pair of recent target articles in the prestigious journal .......... The general consensus............ In this chapter........................... 2008 © 2008 The authors................. All rights reserved.. this conclusion ignored a variety of observations of nonhuman primates pointing in captivity over the past century and was put to rest by careful experimental work conducted in especially the past decade.... 77 5... However........... theory construction and empirical research ..... (Eds............. 71 Conclusions..... Now the debate concerns the human ability to declaratively point and the absence of declarative pointing in other great apes and the same discontinuous conclusions are being drawn.... Noah SUSSWEIN... WEREHA Abstract.. 65 Conceptual clarification... We then turn to a more general methodological critique of existing research in order to show that the lack of valid empirical evidence can speak to these issues....................................... David A..... RACINE..................... the ability to point and conversely the absence of pointing in other great ape species has been interpreted as evidence of great discontinuity across the primate lines in the ability to share meaning with an interlocutor........ 76 References.........1 5...........5 Introduction.. chimpanzees and humans are both adept at following another’s gaze and signalling with communicative gestures......... We attempt to show that the mental state of........ we argue that this is a continuation of the same debate that presupposes certain problematic ideas about the nature of meaning and mind.......... Historically........1 Introduction It is generally agreed that we share some capacity for basic forms of intersubjective engagement with other primate species [1........... Morganti et al.......... Tyler J. But there is debate concerning how to accurately characterize the cognitive differences across species.............

we argue against this way of thinking on logical and methodological grounds by focussing on the ontogeny and phylogeny of early social cognitive capacities. Even ‘enculturated’ and ‘languagetrained’ apes that possess considerable communicative skill [7] are said by many to lack an appreciation of the communicative intention behind the act [e. We first describe and critique widely assumed mentalistic views of meaning and mind and briefly discuss social cognitive capacities in human and nonhuman primates to show the degree to which the extant literature is interpreted within this mentalistic frame of reference. concerning meaning shared through language. 8]. 10-16].P. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues Behavioural and Brain Sciences have argued [3. 4]. Thus.g. ‘‘If you look over there. For example. Using an identical logic.” Therefore. And conversely understanding communicative intentions is said to enable the sharing of linguistic meaning in human infants [4]. leading to theories of meaning in existing comparative and developmental research that are overly mentalistic and which conceptualize certain forms of shared meaning as the sharing of mental states [1. the pendulum swings too far in the other direction. it has been argued that although other apes might gesture or follow another’s gaze. We turn next to a methodological critique that questions the validity of existing empirical evidence with respect to the adjudication of these issues. few researchers would imagine that intersubjectivity involves sharing contexts. is that human social cognition is unlike that of any other species in its nature. . you’ll know what I mean. This is a common and commonsensical way of explaining the development of one species and the lack of development of another with a single mechanism. But there is a problem with either of these ways of putting it though because they overemphasize. it would be equally valid to claim that understanding the meaning of a pointing gesture requires some fairly serious ‘context-reading’. it is trivially the case that because apes do not develop language in the wild they do not use linguistic symbols to share meaning. What is interesting about this claim though is that it follows the statement that. we conceptually and methodologically analyze the arguments in support of these conclusions. In this chapter. As Tomasello and colleagues recently put it. in effect. Our assumption is that the methodological shortcomings that we identify in the existing literature are more likely to occur when one does not have a firm grasp of the relation between the inner and outer. We conclude that the lack of appreciation for conceptual analysis may be helping to fuel debates regarding social cognition in the developmental and comparative literatures. What is particularly persuasive about this pronouncement is that it comes from two research groups who fail to agree on much else [5. That human social cognition is unlike that of any other species is beyond dispute in certain respects. the inner and the outer. origins and extent.66 T. Racine et al. respectively. 2. both of which are intrinsic to the sharing of meaning. possibly (a) because researchers have rich access to their own mental lives and (b) reference underdetermines meaning.. they do not appreciate the mental state that is behind and causally related to the act in question. However. In this chapter. “pointing can convey an almost infinite variety of meanings by saying. 6]. “To recover the intended meaning of a pointing gesture…requires some fairly serious ‘mindreading’” [9].

their recent article affords us an opportunity to introduce and discuss the issues we raise in this chapter.” Strictly speaking of course. and it represents my desire that we both know together that I am referring you to the tree so that you will infer what I want you to know or to do. Tomasello and colleagues [18] then argue that: “Crucially. more attention than we have space for at present.2. creating ‘invisible philosophy’.P. And it is ironic that although these authors note that they wish to avoid getting into philosophical analyses. Some might claim that comparative and developmental psychologists should not worry themselves about such issues because theirs is an empirical science and issues of meaning and epistemology are the business of philosophers. However. philosophical questions whether we like it or not. Because conceptual analysis is widely viewed as irrelevant to psychological science. the communicative intention. I not only want you to notice the tree (for some reason).” but rather his theory of meaning. However. Racine et al. I also want us to notice together my desire that you notice the tree and this additional tier is necessary to instigate in you the kinds of relevance inference required to identify my reason for communicating in the first place…We call this. This is also an odd juxtaposition in our view because the differences between Wittgenstein and Grice merit serious attention. when I point to a tree for you. which they do not. when explaining “the basics of pointing” their first substantive references are to the works of two philosophers. these are not Grice’s “observations. theory construction and empirical research In this section we argue that: (a) studying the phylogeny and ontogeny of early social cognition necessarily involves conceptual analysis and (b) problematic preconceptions about the nature of meaning and mind interfere with the interpretation of data and the construction of valid theories.2 Conceptual clarification. gesture. Wittgenstein noted that reference massively underdetermines meaning and that the meaning of a sign. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues 67 5. we argue that it is preferable to make assumptions explicit and reflect on the meanings of the concepts that we employ in our investigations [13]. In this analysis. in our view this strategy unfortunately obscures researchers’ conceptual commitments. it is uncontroversial to issue disclaimers such as a recent one by Tomasello and colleagues that “[they] are not attempting to address the large and complex philosophical literature on the nature of mutual knowledge nor the philosophical use of the word ‘know’”[9]. even if philosophers agreed about these issues. however. following Sperber and Wilson. cooperative communicative acts also involve in addition an intention about the communication specifically. To characterize the above propositions as observations obscures the fact that they paint what Wittgenstein called a metaphysical picture .T. as Grice (1957) first observed. But as Tomasello et al. and so forth depends critically on the context in which it is embedded [17]. point out.1 Psychology cannot escape its philosophical roots Although we do not wish to single out Tomasello and his colleagues. Instead. psychological theories and empirical research are based on assumptions about these issues and therefore the work raises conceptual. 5. Wittgenstein and Grice [9].

To notice. 2 A recent example is Moore’s commentary entitled “Show Me the Theory!” that was written in response to Racine and Carpendale’s attempt to clarify the meaning of ‘joint attention’ as used by contemporary theorists [14. determining the referent of a point is distinct from understanding the intentions of the pointer. as misguided attempts to circumvent empirical research. The basic problem is that it is impossible to extract the meaning of the concept ‘intention’ or ‘attention’ simply from private experience. . that a person is communicating is not to observe two objects. whether she is playing a game. 14]. but this is our very point: they can’t help but do (invisible) philosophy. how questions typically involve claims that human-specific joint attention behaviours are causally dependent upon a certain class of mental representations.68 T. unfortunately. this necessary violates Wittgenstein’s private language arguments and leaves Tomasello with an ungrounded level of meaning and a fundamental incoherency in his theory [2. One might protest that these authors base their theory on Grice because they happen to agree with him. Racine et al. certain cases of sharing meaning may involve determining what another person has in mind. Cognitive answers to the causal. And in terms of research concerning primate intersubjectivity. whether she is attending to X or Y as she points. making a joke. issuing a warning. first a communicative intention and second the behaviour that constitutes the communicative act. correct2. a sort of shortcut in the path to the truth. I could not intend to play a game of chess” [19]. not only is the need for conceptual analysis poorly understood but: “conceptual investigations have also been dismissed as philosophical speculation alien or even inimical to science. for example. specifically those that represent the attentional and intentional 1 Although we do not have the space to make our case here.P. Tomasello and colleagues assume that understanding intentions involves inferences about representations and accordingly is part of what separates humans from other primates [but see 20]. However. However. Grice’s analysis assumes that communicative content is derivative from mental content1. Wittgenstein claims. The metaphysical picture underlying this theory is that understanding what a person means by a gesture involves understanding what they have in mind when they perform that gesture. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues because they do not describe possible objects of observation [17]. not how or why they do it” [22]. researchers must bear in mind that “Ascribing an understanding of attention to infants specifies what they are capable of doing. at least at this juncture. “An intention is embedded in its situation. empirical. or as armchair speculation about the meaning of words. After all. As Machado and his colleagues [21] have suggested. Now. intending to X presupposes the existence of Xing. If the technique of chess did not exist. For it seems clear that guessing the referent of an ambiguous point might involve inferences about the pointer’s mental state. such as social and cultural practices. is these researchers could not have constructed the theory they did had they followed Wittgenstein rather than Grice. This is not to argue that intentions are somehow non-mental but rather that mental properties are not radically separate from environmental ones.” We believe that this diagnosis is. Our point. By contrast. for example. Wittgenstein claimed that conceptual clarity is a precondition for any successful empirical investigation. and so on. 23]. for example. in making meaning parasitic on intentions.

however. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues 69 mental states of others. 16]? This violates a basic scientific tenet that causes and effects be logically distinct. But. For example. etc. it is not action alone but action in some specific context that matters. given that the only way to determine whether such mental representations are present is to observe the behaviours that are their putative effects. These theories posit mental representations as causally related to the behaviours that constitute the grounds for ascribing understanding others’ attention and intentions. For example. in what sense are joint attention behaviours ‘explained’ by propositions about representations [13. a researcher might activate a toy and when an infant points at the toy. Fodor has noted that in certain cases. Fodor points out that this did not prevent the development of a successful science of genetics. say ‘Hello’. 12. similarly for ‘tried to answer’. namely those behaviours that count as intentionally communicative. and thus. “Mendel’s classic demonstration that recessive characteristics appear unaltered in the offspring of heterozygotes…showed that a distinction is required between traits” (effects) “and their genetic carriers” (causes) [24]. Simply put. how and why The first order of business in attempting to separate definitional ‘what’ questions from causal ‘how’ or ‘why’ questions is clarifying the grounds upon which mentality is ascribed to others. Because this is perhaps easier to understand in a language using context. Racine et al. this success entailed the resolution of such ambiguity regarding causes and effects. and enter into conversation with the speaker at the other end of the line. inner states are attributed to others on the basis of behavioural criteria. the various representational hypotheses that are widely conceived of as competing causal explanations are in fact alternative redescriptions of the behavioural phenomena they putatively explain [2. the presence of genes as trait-bearing entities could only be confirmed through observation of those traits that constituted their putative effects. the researcher responds by sharing attention. or there was no response from the other end. There are indefinitely many different situations in which ‘answered’ can be said. genes were initially defined in terms of their effects.2.P. then it could be said that you tried to answer the phone.. consider the following example [25]: “Suppose the phone rings—you pick up the receiver. If you couldn’t get a hold of the receiver.” This is also how researchers often determine the meaning of a pointing gesture.T. or dropped it breaking the phone. things that they do. It is impossible to identify a ‘communicative intention’ independent of intentionally communicative behaviours. However. However. not that you tried to answer it. for what is criterial for a given psychological predicate in one situation might not be in another. 5. If the infant stops gesturing she is seen to be satisfied and it is coded as a declarative act. That is.2 What. in Mendel’s research. The mental property of a ‘communicative intention’ is constituted by a family of behavioural properties. and indefinitely many situations in which it would not be clear that either thing could be said. the requirement of logical independence for causes and effects has not been met. 14-16]. whereas if the infant persists in directing the researcher’s attention at an object it is coded as imperative . express and so on. Afterward it could be said that you answered the phone.

/ Conceptual and Methodological Issues [e. “Rather than using behaviour as the basis for inferences to invisible mental events such as intentions. And although they critique one another’s work. The confusions about the relation between causation and definition that inhere in representationalist views are so deeply embedded that they also creep into approaches to mind that try to avoid equating representation with understanding. overlapping behaviours are criterial for differing ‘motivational states’ because the sequence of behaviours in which the gesture occurs is manifestly different. This is a logical and not an empirical must. And claiming that criteria are cognitive events obscures causal/definitional and inner/outer in a similar way as the representationalist programme.. In a similar vein. If children or apes exhibit very similar behaviours in very similar situations it follows that pointing and other aspects of more ‘advanced’ (secondary) forms of intersubjectivity must apply equally to human and nonhuman primates [27. 26]. which cannot contribute to our understanding of causal issues. Although much creative and informative research has been conducted. Wittgenstein’s separation of definitional relations between inner states and behaviour from the causal relations that may obtain highlights the problem here. This is unfortunate because many comparative and developmental . in our view the theoretical frameworks within which these data are understood shroud social cognitive capacities in a mentalistic fog that is hard to see one’s way through. 30] explicitly contrast their theories to ones like Tomasello’s or Povinelli’s in an attempt to provide a more accurate characterization of the phenomena that constitute understanding attention and other related psychological states. Johnson claims that. this should not be understood as a claim that a motivation. Povinelli claims that chimpanzees satisfy criteria for understanding attention such as careful attention to eyes of human experimenters but yet do not understand the psychological significance of seeing [29]..g. As Susswein and Racine point out. "An 'inner process' stands in need of outward criteria” [17]. This example demonstrates that we say that the motive is declarative (or imperative) because of the situation in which it is embedded. Although the primary application of most of the concepts of mind of interest to comparative and developmental researchers is to human beings. 2. The problem in many contemporary theories is that logically indistinguishable causes and effects are posited. Tomasello and their colleagues seem to all look for something additional to the activity in question and they assume that what gives the activity the meaning that we attribute to it is the mental state of the agent [2]. The causal issue of how and why apes do such things is a separate question and is in fact the one in which researchers are most interested.70 T. it is misleading to think of a behaviour as a “directly observable cognitive event” because this conflates the criteria by which cognitive events are ascribed with the cognitive events themselves [16]. is not a property of an agent and is not in this sense ‘inner’. As Wittgenstein famously remarked. directly observable cognitive events” [31]. 14].P. Again. the distributed approach treats communicative interactions as. themselves.g. these are sensibly applied to the great apes because of their similarity to humans and their life to the human form of life [17]. 28]. Again. Proponents of distributed approaches to cognition such as Johnson [e. Although we share some of Johnson’s motivations and have made similar points ourselves [1. Racine et al. we will use her article as a basis for further clarification. for example. In other words. Povinelli. But to pay careful attention to the eyes and to otherwise monitor the gaze of others are criterial for understanding basic forms of attention.

and impoverishment that is quite typical of captive ape experiences. (b) measure aspects of their sensitivity to human communicative or attentional behaviour.g. who were raised in peer cohorts in the . in an oft-cited monograph by Povinelli and Eddy [29].. No researcher would: (a) sample human children who have experienced the kinds of extreme trauma. 5. critical distinctions between the inner and outer also obscures these issues of interest. 5. there are many published examples in which even very eminent researchers have generalized from their captive ape samples to entire species [e. comparative and developmental psychologists have produced a large number of empirical findings purporting to demonstrate that young infants and/or nonhuman primates. But just as heads logically presupposes a tails side of the coin. Thus. the relations between the mental and the behavioural are [intrinsically related] and…cannot be identified independently of each other” [32]. and preferences.g. 29. especially apes. see 38]. 1.g. In recent years. Although we sympathize with Johnson’s attempt to avoid logical difficulties inherent in representational approaches. and so on. 33. neglect. either have or do not have the capacity to represent the invisible contents of other minds [e. 5. and an ‘outer’ world of behaviours and environments on the other. familiarity with) human caregivers are all confounded with the apes’ species classifications. 35-37]. 10. and relatively restricted interaction with (and hence. For a typical example. 34]. such as the early trauma associated with witnessing the murder of one’s mother. seven orphaned young chimpanzees. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues 71 researchers “tend to think of an ‘inner’ mental world of experiences. peercentred attachment relations. Racine et al.T. (b) failure to control training regimens across species. we argue that collapsing. rather than overdrawing. Yet. 6. rejection by and consequent loss of a primary caregiver.3. and (c) confounding experimental manipulations across levels of independent variables [for an insightful critique of contemporary research into comparative cognition on separate grounds. 9.1 The confound in rearing histories between humans and other apes Studies in which the communicative competencies of captive apes are compared with typically developing human children universally suffer from a lack of experimental control over the respective organisms’ rearing histories. impoverished physical environments. abilities. the comprehension of gaze. dispositions. on the one hand. We have argued that the epistemological assumptions upon these studies are based are untenable.P. thereby confounding training histories with species. ontogenetically and experimentally relevant factors quite typically experienced by captive apes. 39]. and the comprehension of epistemic states. and then (c) generalize from these traumatized and/or impoverished samples to the entire human species. These shortcomings include (a) failure to control for or otherwise acknowledge rearing history confounds with species [e. 33...3 Drawing undrawable conclusions We now move from logical concerns to methodological ones. We now turn our focus to some of the more common methodological failings of species comparisons designed to assess the cognitive bases of the comprehension or production of manual gestures.

Although developmental research suggests that very impoverished upbringings lead to poor cognitive and social development [e. were compared with human 2.P.to 5-year-old children.72 T. impossible to control these preexperimental factors in a full factorial experimental design. the fact remains that experimental confounds do not disappear if ignored. or other incidental effects of their radically different.g. 41]. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues relatively impoverished circumstances of a nursery in a biomedical research centre.. although it is well established that more experienced animals will more easily transfer their expertise to novel experimental circumstances [e. their performances might also simply reflect their relative lack of experience engaging with humans. in the comparatively enriched circumstances characteristic of Western upbringing contexts in the developed world. Although by no means do we suggest that this interpretive bias is characteristic only of one particular group of researchers in one particular laboratory. relatively impoverished rearing histories. It is simply impossible to distinguish these possibilities from this research design. consign human children to be raised by chimpanzees. Racine et al. it is. be achieved by cross-fostering apes with human caregivers. Povinelli and Eddy argued that because they had demonstrated similar baseline performances between the apes and the children in some experimental conditions. for example. raised by their biological parents. however. particularly with organisms as long-lived as humans and other apes.g. the children performed better than did the apes in some procedures. we cannot. Quasi-experimental designs can. However. that therefore they had demonstrated a deficiency in those transfer conditions by the chimpanzees. The tests were designed to assess the sensitivity of these respective organisms to visual cues of visual attention in human experimenters. and because the differences that they found were evident in only some transfer conditions. adult attachment figures over the entireties of their childhoods? Was this because the apes had very much less interactive experience with humans than did the human children? Was this because the apes were representatives of a different species than the human children? Although it is clearly impossible to isolate the factors responsible for the performance differences between the chimpanzees and the children. Povinelli and Eddy concluded that the differences in performance between the two groups were attributable to the chimpanzees’ incapacity to “appreciate the mental connection engendered by visual inspection” and that “despite their striking use of (and interest in) the eyes. In experimental circumstances that were alleged by the authors to be “similar”. as a practical and ethical matter. 42-45]. and therefore the poorer transfer performances of the chimpanzees in that study may be due to their species’ inability to discern others’ visual perspectives. The attribution by Povinelli and Eddy of the performance differences between the humans and the apes to their species classifications and not their pre-experimental histories in the face of obvious rearing history differences that differed immensely between the two groups is symptomatic of the recent literature on comparative cognition. and there is every reason to believe that the apes were far less experienced than the human children were (even the younger human children). Was this because the apes lacked stable. And there is no reasonable basis to conclude that the apes had anything like as much pre-experimental experience with human gaze cues of visual attention as did the human children (even the younger human children). primary. 5-6 chimpanzees apparently see very little behind them” [40].. This has been attempted . Of course.

.e. U. in this experiment. & Pili (Pili died at less than two years of age. emotional. as an experimentally valid comparison to human children by virtue of having been raised from birth by humans. whether differences between apes and humans are attributable to species differences (i. Thus. Let the comparison group be human girls raised by their biological parents in their homes. whose behavioural competencies refuted a number of recent claims about ape social cognition. in principle. the wide variations in the social. this conclusion can only illustrate the interpretive bias of the researcher. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues 73 with great apes of all species. several chimpanzees at the Primate Research Centre of Kyoto. with stable.T. 49. only four chimpanzee subjects in the history of science (excluding Pili) could have served. only two formal cross-fostering experiments have raised apes in a human culture from near-birth. [54].S. Iowa. including chimpanzees [46-50]. Japan. difference.g. This is not to argue that the whole enterprise of comparative cognition is meaningless.A. then one cannot rationally conclude that you have uncovered a group. U. The second was by Gardner and Gardner [55]. and the extraordinarily large differences among captive apes in their relative familiarity with humans. and several animals at the Great Ape Trust of Des Moines. These are all astonishingly accomplished animals. unsurprisingly. Tatu. gorillas [52] and orangutans [53]. to our knowledge. regardless of the diversity of circumstances in which these apes have lost their biological mothers. it is widely claimed that apes do not communicate protodeclaratively or imitate despite hundreds of published examples of this in these and other language-trained animals or later-adopted apes [e.. assess the sensitivity of the boys and the girls to subtle cues of visual attention in human adults. in the socio-ecological and physical circumstances typical of human childhood [56. bonobos [7. then consider the following thought experiment: “raise human boys from birth in the same relatively impoverished circumstances in which captive apes are typically raised. it is entirely unclear. for non-experimental account of cross-fostering a chimpanzee named Lucy. Racine et al.S. Others have raised infants in bi-specific communities consisting of both humans and apes: e. adopted son of Washoe at the Central Washington University in Bellingham. The first was the study by Hayes and Hayes of a single chimpanzee subject.P. perform better than the boys—would any . to our knowledge. decades in advance of those claims. primary attachment relationships to particular human caregivers. or some interaction between these evolutionary and developmental factors. For example.g.A. we are simply making the rather rudimentary point that if one compares individuals from two separate groups with radically different rearing histories and finds a significant difference in a dependent variable between those two groups. from research designs like this that they have identified a species difference in social cognition. Viki [49]. see 57]. but not a rearing history. 58]. rearing history differences.. and physical environments in which they were raised from birth. Years later. Whenever a researcher concludes. Loulis. Washington. 51]. different evolutionary histories). However. Suppose the girls. so there is a limited behavioural record for him). If this is still not obvious. in these kinds of research designs. There also seems to be a very widespread misconception that any ape raised by humans is therefore cross-fostered by humans to the same degree. Dar. We hope that it is now obvious that virtually all direct comparisons of the cognition of apes and humans are invalid from an experimental point of view. four chimpanzees were cross-fostered from neonates: Moja.

the experimenter adopted one of three different postures designed to communicate the location of the hidden treat: (a) head and eyes turned to look at the baited container (At Target). on the same sides at which the experimenters’ eyes were focused [60]. that both humans and apes performed well in the At Target condition. species—they can’t do it because they are chimpanzees). Povinelli et al. and Leavens found that human adults acted just like the chimpanzees in the Above Target condition [61]. A straightforward example of this is a study by Povinelli et al. Racine et al. with eyes peering at the baited container (Eyes Only). Pitt. Thomas. rearing history—they can’t do it because they were exposed to prolonged trauma. in which human children and chimpanzees were presented with an experimenter seated behind two containers. In the critical test trials. and that apes performed well (above chance) in the Above Target. in the case of the chimpanzees) [39]. we believe that these kinds of experiments are worthwhile—what we wish to highlight here is the irrationality of asserting one factor’s influence (e. but not a specific locus.74 T. this implies that human children have high-level.g. in the face of the extraordinary difficulty of adequately controlling for rearing history factors in ape-human comparisons. In a study of the performance of human adults. one of which was baited with a reward (stickers. neglect. They concluded that chimpanzees had only a low-level appreciation of gaze.2 Methodological misconceptions of behaviour Given that this is such a commonplace practice in comparative psychology.. rearing history is clearly confounded with the gender of the subjects... taking Povinelli et al. According to the reasoning of Povinelli and his colleagues. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues researcher in their right mind attribute the difference to a gender difference between boys and girls? Of course not. Yet substitute apes for boys and humans for girls in this research design and how often have researchers trumpeted a “species difference” between apes and humans in various aspects of sensitivity to visual attention?” [59] Again. despite the fact that these same chimpanzees very frequently turned to look at the ceiling behind them. Murphy.’s hypotheses at face value. rather than another confounded factor’s influence (e. (b) head oriented straight ahead. and (c) head and eyes oriented considerably above the baited container (Above Container). and edible treats.” vaguely and imprecisely indicating a general area. 5. relative to humans. in the case of children.P. it is perhaps not very surprising that rearing histories are ignored in much of contemporary empirical research – albeit with some notable exceptions [e. in which attention is conceived of as a kind of “laser beam. It is more surprising that it is also common to find researchers claiming to have demonstrated a cognitive deficiency in great apes.3. in the face of apes’ superior performance. 33]. but the children performed at chance levels. or were relatively less experienced). laser-beam-like .” then that organism ought to find it difficult to locate the hidden treats in the Above Container condition because the gaze is focused decidedly away from the baited container. Rivers. if an organism has a high-level mentalistic concept of visual attention. attributed the apes’ better performance in the Above Target condition as evidence that apes’ conceptions of visual attention were like “floodlamps.g. They found that both human children and apes performed poorly (at chance) in the Eyes Only condition.g.

In this study. comparing them to human children. then. 69].. Thus. unaccountably. (b) apes who were relatively .g. Thus. relative to the more numerous baseline trials in which the experimenter responded immediately to the apes’ gestures. the chimpanzees were trained to place their hands in particular holes and to expect immediate reinforcement for doing so. but virtually all existing studies purporting to compare humans with apes suffer from one or more of these three major methodological failings: failure to control pre-experimental histories across species. A more informative and nuanced approach to comparative cognition is to sample apes from varied backgrounds. and then humans lose this conceptual sophistication in adulthood. Racine et al.P. simply reflected either their superior grasp of the task requirements or their greater motivation for their rewards. compared to the human children. in which the experimenter was attentive. 67] have been taken on the basis of dubious empirical findings. Thus.. in the experimental probe trials (in half of which the experimenter was attentive and in half of which the experimenter was inattentive) no reinforcement took place until after 20 seconds had elapsed from the apes’ placements of their hands through the barrier. yet. Another example of this kind of methodological error comes from the same laboratory. 29. when Theall and Povinelli failed to find a difference in the rates of the hapless chimpanzees’ attention-getting behaviour between the so-called “attentive” and “inattentive” conditions. Carpenter and her colleagues analyzed the joint attentional competencies of: (a) apes who were relatively inexperienced with humans. yet common shortcomings in direct human-ape comparisons in cognitive performance. it is entirely unclear whether this is attributable to the apes’ inability to discriminate attentive from inattentive states. as seems much more likely to us. 3. baseline trials. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues 75 conceptions of visual attention. The critical probe trials in which the experimenters adopted their various attentive and inattentive postures were embedded in a series of standard trials. or confounding factors across the levels of the intended independent variable. the chimpanzees were rewarded immediately for placing their hands through a hole in a transparent barrier. 9. or whether. the chimpanzees were displaying attention-getting behaviour to enigmatically unresponsive experimenters. very strong theoretical positions [e. There was one experimental probe trial for every two standard. More likely. as the authors concluded. irrespective of their attentional state. Other research protocols have clearly demonstrated that great apes do discriminate different attentional states in human experimenters demonstrating that almost all failures to demonstrate these kinds of discrimination in great apes are attributable to procedural deficiencies. Crucially. There are other serious.T. on one-third of all trials—and irrespective of whether the experimenter was “attentive” or “inattentive”—the experimenter simply would not respond with reinforcement until a 20-second interval had elapsed. the experimenter’s lack of responsiveness was confounded with the manipulation of the experimenter’s posture. Theall and Povinelli attempted to determine whether chimpanzees would exhibit more “attention-getting” behaviour when an experimenter could not see them. For example.g. 8. This kind of protocol was pioneered by Tomasello and his colleagues [68. compared to when the experimenter could see them [62]. failure to control training protocols across species. In contrast. the improved performances of the chimpanzees. rather than the deficiencies in the animals studied [e. 4. 63-66]. in the standard trials. contra Povinelli and colleagues.

Because many researchers seem to not have a clear handle on the distinctions between causal and definitional issues and the relation between inner and outer they have imported an overly mentalistic conception of social cognitive activity into their research designs. apes look back-and-forth between the objects of their points and their social partners [73. Despite the recent claims that Darwin was mistaken to argue for continuity in primate cognitive differences [3]. This obviates the need to invoke an evolutionary or ontogenetic deus ex machina for what are really rather simple cognitive processes. That is. and they persist in and elaborate their communication in the face of communicative failures [75. 71] before they display a gesture.P. ostensible differences between chimpanzee and human minds make a lot more sense when one forgets about the relation between the inner and the outer. the apparent influence of species as a factor in sociocognitive development is reduced.4 Conclusions We have argued that developmental and comparative research into early social cognition has failed to adequately address the conceptual aspects of such investigations and has suffered because of it. when within-species variation in rearing history is properly accounted for in apehuman comparisons. Like human children. They found that the experienced (“enculturated”) chimpanzees performed much more like human children than did the less experienced (“unenculturated”) chimpanzees. it is crucial that continuity between humans and other animals remains the null . This truism is underscored by the ease with which chimpanzees and other apes in captivity come to manipulate people in their environments. thus clearly implicating rearing history differences as more relevant to performance in joint attention than species differences [70. as evidenced by their requirement that a human is both present [71. then humans and the great apes manifestly share many aspects of early social cognition. [69]. despite the fact that they virtually never point in the wild [71. The central message from the comparative literature is that when the behavioural context is used as a basis for the attribution of the cognitive bases for communication. 75] and looking at the apes [64. Apes in captivity are sensitive to variations in the visual attention of their human caregivers. 73-76]. the failure to take rearing histories of nonhuman primates into account and the methodological problems that ensue from this error follow from this mentalistic conception of the mind as an inner entity that is logically distinct from activity.76 T. and (c) human children. Because these behaviours also define the human developmental transition into intentional communication or secondary intersubjectivity. 71. see 10 for relevant discussions of within-species effects of differential exposure of apes to human cultures]. a conclusion also reached by Tomasello et al. / Conceptual and Methodological Issues more experienced with humans. Racine et al. researchers sometimes balk at attributing the same kinds of mental representations to apes that they attribute to human infants. for a similar apparent rearing history influence on two orangutans see 72. through pointing and other manual gestures. rearing history and so forth. cultural surround. 5. In our view. 77]. There is in fact no stronger empirical evidence for intentional communication in preverbal human children than in nonhuman primates. Thus. 74]. in accordance with Darwinian theory.

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[54] R. S. Fouts, A. D. Hirsch & D. H. Fouts, Cultural transmission of a human language in a chimpanzee mother-infant relationship. In H. E. Fitzgerald, J. A. Mullins & P. Gage (Eds.), Child nurturance: Studies of development in primates, (pp.159-193). New York: Plenum Press, 1982. [55] R. A. Gardner & B. T. Gardner, A cross-fostering laboratory. In R. A. Gardner, B. T. Gardner, & T. E. Van Cantfort (Eds.), Teaching sign language to chimpanzees, (pp.1-28). Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989. [56] K. A. Bard & D. A. Leavens, Socio-emotional factors in the development of joint attention in human and ape infants. In L. Roska-Hardy & E.M. Neumann-Held (Eds.), Learning from animals? London: Psychology Press, in press. [57] M. K. Temerlin, Lucy: Growing up human. London: Souvenir Press, 1976. [58] R. E. Van Cantfort, B. T. Gardner & R. A. Gardner, (1989). Developmental trends in replies to Wh-questions by children and chimpanzees. In R. A. Gardner, B. T. Gardner & T. E. Van Cantfort (Eds.), Teaching sign language to chimpanzees (pp. 198-239). Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989. [59] D. A. Leavens, W. D. Hopkins & K. A. Bard, The heterochronic origins of explicit reference. In J. Zlatev, T. P. Racine, C. Sinha & E. Itkonen (Eds.), The shared mind: Perspectives on intersubjectivity, 17. Amsterdam: Benjamins, in press. [60] D. J. Povinelli, D. T. Bierschwale & C. G. Cech, Comprehension of seeing as a referential act in young children, but not juvenile chimpanzees. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 17, 37-60, 1999, see Fig. 7 and pp. 51-52. [61] E. Thomas, M. Murphy, R. Pitt, A. Rivers & D. A. Leavens, Understanding of visual attention by adult humans (Homo sapiens): A partial replication of Povinelli, Bierschwaleand Cech (1999), under review. [62] L. A. Theall & D. J. Povinelli, Do chimpanzees tailor their gestural signals to fit the attentional states of others? Animal Cognition, 2, 207-214, 1999. [63] J. Brauer, J. Call & M. Tomasello, All primates species follow gaze to distant locations and around barriers. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 119, 145-154, 2005. [64] A. B. Hostetter, M. Cantero & W. D. Hopkins, Differential use of vocal and gestural communication in response to the attentional status of a human. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 115, 337-343, 2001. [65] D. A. Leavens, A. B. Hostetter, M. J. Wesley & W. D. Hopkins, Tactical use of unimodal and bimodal communication by chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. Animal Behaviour, 67, 467-476, 2004. [66] S. R. Poss, C. Kuhar, T. S. Stoinski & W. D. Hopkins, Differential use of attentional and visual communicative signaling by orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) in response to the attentional status of a human. American Journal of Primatology, 68, 978-992, 2006. [67] D. J. Povinelli, J. M.Bering & S. Giambrone, Toward a science of other minds: Escaping the argument by analogy. Cognitive Science, 24, 509-541, 2000. [68] M. Carpenter, M. Tomasello & S. Savage-Rumbaugh, Joint attention and imitative learning in children, chimpanzees, and enculturated chimpanzees. Social Development, 4, 217-237, 1995. [69] M. Tomasello, E. S. Savage-Rumbaugh & A. C. Kruger, Imitative learning of actions on objects by children, chimpanzees, and enculturated chimpanzees. Child Development, 64, 1688-1705, 1993. [70] D. A. Leavens & W. D. Hopkins, The whole hand point: The structure and function of pointing from a comparative perspective. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 113, 417-425, 1999. [71] J. Call & M. Tomasello, The effect of humans on the cognitive development of apes. In A. E. Russon, K. A. Bard & S. T. Parker (Eds.), Reaching into thought: The minds of the great apes, (pp.371-403). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. [72] J. Call & M. Tomasello, Production and comprehension of referential pointing by orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 108, 307-317, 1994. [73] M. A. Krause & R. S. Fouts, Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) pointing: Hand shapes, accuracy, and the role of eye gaze’. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 111, 330-336, 1997. [74] D. A. Leavens & W. D. Hopkins, Intentional communication by chimpanzees: A cross-sectional study of the use of referential gestures. Developmental Psychology, 34, 813-822, 1998. [75] D. A. Leavens, W. D. Hopkins & R. K. Thomas, Referential communication by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 118, 48-57, 2004. [76] D. A. Leavens, J. L. Russell & W. D. Hopkins, Intentionality as measured in the persistence and elaboration of communication by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Child Development, 76, 291306, 2005. [77] E.A. Cartmill & R.W. Byrne, Orangutans modify their gestural signaling according to their audience’s comprehension. Current Biology, 17, 1345-1348, 2007.

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Enacting Intersubjectivity F. Morganti et al. (Eds.) IOS Press, 2008 © 2008 The authors. All rights reserved.



On the Nature and Role of Intersubjectivity in Human Communication
Maurizio TIRASSA, Francesca Marina BOSCO
Abstract. We outline a theory of human agency and communication and discuss the role that the capability to share (that is, intersubjectivity) plays in it. All the notions discussed are cast in a mentalistic and radically constructivist framework. We also introduce and discuss the relevant literature.

Contents 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Introduction......................................................................................................... 81 The mental nature of human communication...................................................... 82 Human agency .................................................................................................... 88 Communication ................................................................................................... 91 Acknowledgment ................................................................................................ 93 References........................................................................................................... 93

6.1 Introduction Human communication is a complex type of interpersonal activity that is neither reducible to the mere use of language nor to just an instance of "general", undifferentiated intersubjectivity. While it is obviously related to the latter faculty, often related to the former, and almost always interleaved with both, it needs an analysis of its own. In this paper we will outline one such analysis. Since, of course, we are not the first to do so, we will also discuss the relevant literature. The main points that we will advance are: (i) human communication has to be understood in terms of the mental processes involved in it; such processes are, at least in part, specific to communication, so that it is better characterized as a faculty than as a task or as merely something that humans do; (ii) communication consists, at least in part, in the creation and the maintenance of a particular type of intersubjectivity which we will characterize in terms of public, or shared, meanings; public meanings have to be understood primarily


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as part of the interactants' mental events and only secondarily as (a peculiar type of) material activity; (iii) all the notions involved should be cast in a mentalistic, biological, and radically constructivist framework.

6.2 The mental nature of human communication 6.2.1 Communication as message The first contemporary theory of communication was advanced by Shannon and Weaver [1]. In their account, a communicational event occurs when a sender codes a message into a signal and broadcasts the latter to a recipient, who decodes it and recovers the message contained. This theory relies on a realist conception of meaning and of the relations between mind and world and between mind and mind. Signals materially exist in the world and are, in a sense, independent of both the sender and the recipient. The relation between messages and signals is bidirectional and mechanical: given the one, the other is immediately available to whomever knows the code involved. In Shannon and Weaver's theory, furthermore, the interlocutors are separate: one launches her message like a signal in the bottle, with no expectations about the other recovering and interpreting it. All that is safe is that, if the signal survives the noise in the channel and gets recovered by someone who knows the code, it will be correctly interpreted. While clear traces of this approach survive in the theories that accept the notion of literal meaning and the separation between syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels or components of communication, it is commonly said to have been integrally demised after the work of Wittgenstein [2], Grice [3], Austin [4], and Searle [5, 6]. These authors, rooted in philosophy rather than in engineering or cybernetics, and their followers in the different disciplines that study human communication have instead emphasized a view of communication as (a particular type of) social activity, grounded in cooperation and in the reciprocal recognition of agency and mentalization as well as, more recently, in the different notions that go under the label of intersubjectivity. Since the very notions of action, social action, and intersubjectivity are far from being clearly or unanimously defined, it may be worth to try drawing some distinction. 6.2.2 Communication as cooperation Grice [7] identifies some features of cooperation which he summarizes in a wellknown set of principles. These principles or maxims, whose nature some have considered descriptive and others normative, are rooted in more general principles of rationality and embodied in the reality of human interactions. This conception has been highly influential in successive theorizing. Most research on communication in classical artificial intelligence and cognitive science [8, 9, 10] has substantially mapped the notion of communication onto the contents of dialogue and the latter onto the joint activities that can be carried about by the interactants. Examples are conversations between a novice and an expert about the

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maintenance of an appliance, or between a clerk in the information booth of a railway station and a traveler about departure and arrival timetables. Here communication is intrinsically cooperative, because so are the collaborative plans in the service of which it exists. The problem with this approach is that strictly task-oriented dialogues are only a small subset of the human possibilities of communication. To map the latter onto the former means to miss all the cases where communication is not in the service of a predefined joint task. Furthermore, there is no reason to think that benevolence and collaboration are built-in features of communication or anyhow intrinsic to it or necessary for it: (1) Ann: You are… You are… I just can't find the words to express my anger! Bob: "Moron" seems too weak here. What about "filthy scumbag" or "dirty rat"? However, many researchers argue that communication is a collaborative activity even when the broader activities in which it is embedded are not, and that the view that "good old-fashioned AI" has of the role of cooperation in communication is not the only possible. For example, Airenti, Bara e Colombetti [11] draw a distinction between a level of cooperation that they call behavioral and one that they call conversational. The former concerns the more or less collaborative nature of the individual action plans which each interlocutor entertains; the latter concerns the forms of the dialogue to which such plans give rise. Cooperation exists on the conversational level even when it does not occur on the behavioral level: (2) Ann: Listen, Bob, can you please lend me a couple thousand euro? Bob: I am very sorry, Ann, but I've had some expenses lately. According to Airenti, Bara and Colombetti, the two types of cooperation have different origins and ought to be understood on different grounds. Behavioral cooperation is related to the unfolding of the individual plans and the social events in which the interlocutors are engaged; conversational cooperation is instead related to the partly joint management of the processes involved in the generation and the understanding of the relevant speech acts. Only the latter would be intrinsic to communication proper. Actually, it is often argued that human communication consists in, or at least includes, events that are collaborative not, or not necessarily, on the level of the individual macro-plans (like trying to borrow, or refusing to lend, amounts of money), but also, or exclusively, on the level of the material actions brought about within the dialogues to which such plans give rise (like asking questions or giving replies). For example, researchers in ethnomethodology and conversational analysis have empirically identified and described collaborative phenomena occurring in the management of turn-taking, that is of how the interlocutors trade and exchange their respective turns of intervention in the ongoing conversation [12], and of the repair system, that is of how they amend a troublesome turn or request that it be amended by the partner [13, 14, 15]. These studies have then been generalized to the study of adjacency pairs: couples of turns, produced by two different

they broadcast television news when such interruption just cannot possibly occur. Ann looks out of the window and says: (3) Ann: It looks like it's going to rain and that Bob then decides to take an umbrella with him. like in dancing or in shaking hands. but. we somehow simulate or impersonate the participation of the audience: this is likely very close to what really happens. if telephone conversations are to be included in the picture) and in which all participants have equal rights of intervention. manifests itself as material actions of simulated co-participation. management and maintenance of the common ground. while Bob is dressing to go to work. Tirassa and F. 19] made up of the set of utterances produced by the interactants up to the present time. and not of the material actions that may or may not represent its behavioral counterpart. 23]. rather than a material one. possibly with their presuppositions and implicatures. however. intersubjectivity is defined as the capability to share and bring about joint collaborative actions with a partner [20. the actions of each participant are tightly coupled to the actions of the other(s) and can only be fully understood in their light. but acquire both structure and sense as they are interwoven with the corresponding actions produced by the partner(s). and so on. Utterances are material joint actions. when communicating unidirectionally. we are left again with the need to describe communication in terms of its underlying mental dynamics. they send messages in bottles. the second of which is conditionally relevant. 21. for a start? and why has she said that? what stance should I take toward what she has meant? By necessity. relatively independent of other events and of the overall mental dynamics of the interactants. since such personation seldom. The intrinsic structure of communication thus consists largely in the construction. Bob's problems are: should I consider what Ann has done as communicative. This. it would be a mistake to define human communication by looking at their local features. 22. The first is that they only apply to interactions which take place in copresence (at least virtually. Human beings can communicate beyond the barriers of time and space: they leave notes and write documents for someone else to read in an elsewhere and an elsewhen which they are often unable to foresee. Conversation thus appears to be an interactional micro-world that follows rules of its own. they give lectures where it is considered impolite of someone in the audience to interrupt the speaker. is not always the case. The ability to move on a ground which is in common with a partner is then viewed as a particularly important feature of the more general human capacity for intersubjectivity. communication has ended up to be viewed as taking place on a common ground [16. It turns out that in real conversations. . The general point here is that communication has to be understood primarily as a mental phenomenon. Suppose that one morning. 17. or the reasonable hypothesis that they have been the first communicative mode evolved in our species. These acceptations of communication and intersubjectivity give rise to some problems.M. Bosco / On the Nature and Role of Intersubjectivity participants. We thus arrive to one of the possible meanings of this notion: here. if ever. yet.84 M. This way. It might be objected that. We do not want to deny the importance of face-to-face interactions. given the first. 18. emerging from the intertwinement of the partial actions that are produced by each participant: such partial actions have neither structure nor sense if taken in isolation.

(i) intends to induce Bob to take an umbrella with him. Intentional.M. even a non-action can have a highly communicative value and thus become a communicative action proper: (4) Ann: I love you so much. (iii) intends such recognition to be (part of) Bob's reason for taking an umbrella with him. (ii) intends Bob to recognize intention (i). more mentalistically oriented than conversation analysis and studies of the common ground. for example." To make things worse.3 Communication as mindreading Another interesting stream of research on communication. by her utterance. Tirassa and F. we prefer this neutral term to the more classical "Theory of mind"). Bob. this is a case of (successful) communication iff Ann. In [29]. his account is fully compatible or straightforwardly identifiable with the idea that human communication is largely or exclusively based upon mindreading. as spelled out by Strawson [25]. That it is grounded in the individual's interactions with the environment and with other individuals does neither make it less mental nor eliminate the need to consider the individual mind as the proper object of investigation of psychology. at least as revised in [28]). [27]. This approach traces back to Grice's analysis of non-natural (that is. Bosco / On the Nature and Role of Intersubjectivity 85 his interpretation of Ann's action as a suggestion to take an umbrella will be uncertain: for what he knows. yet. Understanding an utterance is a matter of abduction: basically. and Bob recognizes Ann's intentions (i iii) in his turn. Communicative meaning is the effect that the first agent overtly intends to achieve on the partner's mental processes. 6.g. Let us reconsider the episode outlined in (3) above: Ann says "It looks like it's going to rain". the mental states . None of these actions or of their effects is reducible to purely material terms. basically. and this process is a mental one. it is a diagnostic process whereby we reconstruct a meaning starting from scarce and often ambiguous hints. When Grice wrote his seminal paper the expression "Theory of mind" [26] had not been invented yet. nor there existed a corresponding research area. In general. In Grice's account. an agent's actions in dialogue result from the interaction of her cognitive dynamics (that is. no list of behaviors with their contexts of occurrence may substitute for a mentalistic theory of the mental dynamics involved in their generation. Grice defines communication as an overt interaction between two (or more) agents. substantially identifies communication and mindreading (for theoretical reasons. Several theories of communication are founded on this assumption (e. like "don't bother to water the flowers before going to work. Sometimes. one meaning something by a certain action in a certain context and the other(s) inferring from the observation of that action to its presumed communicative meaning. or communicative) meaning [24]. Ann might have done something much more ambiguous to the same effect.. she might have meant something very different.2. like moving the tent away from the window so to let Bob see a cloudy sky. and Bob takes an umbrella with him while going out.M. or cranking up the volume of the television during the weather forecasts. Bob remains silent and keeps eating his soup.


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that she entertains moment by moment) with those that she ascribes to her partner(s). A communicating agent's subjectively viewed situation (see Section 3) includes the partner's presumed mental states; her actions consist in speech acts. While it is impossible to know the details of each other's respective situation and mental states, agents must be able to understand at least an outline of them. Mindreading thus gains a crucial role in communication, the other key element of which is the capability to plan and produce speech acts so appropriately that the partner's mental states are modified as desired. Some researchers are very critical of the notion of a Theory of mind: e.g., Gallagher [30] and Gallagher and Hutto [31] reject it on the basis of their phenomenological approach to intersubjectivity. This appears to also imply a rejection of the idea that human communication builds upon mindreading. However sympathetic with these perspective and proposals, we do not feel that the notion of mindreading is completely devoid of usefulness [32], at least while it is not cast in classical cognitive or modular terms. We can imagine Bob wondering whether Ann actually wanted to suggest that he take an umbrella when going to work or that he do not water the flowers before going. In general, it is normal for humans to ask themselves and the others explicit questions about someone's "real" thoughts and feelings and to look for rational answers to them. We agree that mindreading heavily leaks into a narrative experience, but we do not think that narration and theorization should necessarily be antagonistic notions. The real problem, as was the case with cooperation, is whether a theory of communication can be built upon mindreading. There can be no doubt that we sometimes recur to mindreading in communication (as there can be none that we often materially cooperate with our partners in the management of common ground during face-to-face interactions). However, it is hard to believe that, each time a colleague or a student of ours says "hello" upon meeting us in the corridor, we remain unable to understand the meaning of that utterance until we have reconstructed what that person's mental states might have been when she uttered it. Another argument against the view that communication builds on mindreading comes from developmental considerations. The discussion on the ontogenesis of mindreading has a long and articulated history that we will not attempt to summarize here (but see [32, 33]). However, most empirical data currently available agree that infants are incapable to read minds at least during their first 9-12 months of life. If mindreading were a necessary component of human communication, or of social cognition in general, infants younger than that would turn out to be incapable to communicate with their caregivers and to understand the communication that the caregivers address to them [34]. This is impossible, because this would prevent them from participating in the interpersonal dynamics that are necessary for their development as persons and as members of the human species and of their cultural community. To divide the human capability of intersubjectivity into components or into logically, ontogenetically or phylogenetically successive phases [35, 36] does not help with this problem, because Grice's theory and its descendants identify communication with what is anyway the most evolved component of mindreading or the final phase of its development, that is the capacity to form explicitly beliefs about and to reason upon a partner's mental states.

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Nor, for the reasons we have already discussed, would the problem be solved by grounding early communication into the material interactions that the infant has with the caregivers [37, 38, 39]. 6.2.4 Sharedness in communication In Grice's account [24], as outlined above, the brief episode in (3) is a true instance of (successful) communication if and only if Ann, by uttering that sentence, entertains a certain set of intentions (i iii) regarding Bob's mental states and Bob entertains a matching set of beliefs regarding Ann's intentions. However, this account lends itself to certain counterexamples (concerning in particular keyhole recognition) that can only be avoided if Ann also entertains an intention (iv) that her intention (ii) be recognized, an intention (v) that her intention (iv) be recognized, and so on, and if Bob entertains the corresponding set of beliefs [25, 40]. This leads into an infinite regression whereby, for any n-th intention that the agent entertains, it is always necessary that she also entertain an (n + 1)-th intention that that intention be recognized, and that the partner recognize all such intentions. This is obviously impossible for principled and practical reasons. A solution to this problem has been proposed by Airenti, Bara and Colombetti [11], who define common knowledge as a primitive, circular mental state type which they call shared belief: an agent shares the belief that p with a partner if she believes that p and that the partner shares the belief that p with her. Communication (that is, conversational cooperation see above) is a joint activity that takes place in the space that an agent shares with a partner. So defined, shared belief is a mental state among the others [41]: it is subjective (that is, one-sided no collective mind is required), primitive (that is, irreducible to private beliefs), and representational (that is, relative to the viewpoint of the agent who entertains it, and not to that of the partner's or to "objective truth"). An agent has neither the need nor the possibility to know what is "objectively" shared with a partner. Being ascriptional, shared belief does not require fancy abilities like telepathy or an endless circularity of reciprocal confirmations; nor does it require or allow any more reference to "objective" facts in the external world than ordinary beliefs do. It may happen that I take p to be shared with you, whereas you do not believe p or do not take p to be shared with me. The failure of a (supposedly) shared belief may give rise to different kinds of problems, exactly like the failure of a private belief, but does not create more cognitive or epistemological difficulties than it does. Sharedness is in the agent's mind, not in the world. The meaning of a communicative action, and even its communicative nature, is therefore, from the standpoint of the addressee, a matter of ascription. That is, Bob may wrongly take Ann's behavior as communicative or vice versa, or as communicative that q, while Ann meant to communicate that p. This account captures the overt and circular nature of communication in a psychologically plausible way. Sharedness is an agent's ability to construe her own mental states as mutually known to a partner. This is the starting point of communicative interaction, which may then be viewed as the progressive modification of the mental ground that each participant shares with the partner.


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6.2.5 Communicative competence in the infant and the adult The solution that we have advanced elsewhere [32, 33, 34] to the problem of infant communication is to employ a reformulation of Airenti, Bara and Colombetti's notion of shared belief to account for communication in the first months of life in such a way that children be viewed as fully human from the beginning, although apparently incapable of reading minds. Our proposal is to view communication as an innate competence, one component of which namely, the ability to share is present at birth, albeit in an early version, while another namely, mindreading appears at a later age. On our account, infant communication in the absence of mindreading is then possible if the child construes all of her mental states as shared with the caregivers. This is in agreement with the empirical evidence that the infant is incapable of understanding that other individuals have mental states of their own that are qualitatively similar but not necessarily identical to those that she entertains. While the classical interpretation of these data is that she must therefore live alone in a subjective world of which she in the better case is the only inhabitant endowed with a mind, ours is that she lives instead in an ever-social world where everybody simply and directly knows her feelings and thoughts. In her perspective, all of her experiential states would be intrinsically public, that is, shared with the individuals that surround her. An infant thus has no private, non-social mental states; to her, intersubjectivity and communication are a plain state of the world rather than a local, transient occurrence. This only requires a primitive recognition of agency, a capability that, according to the relevant literature, can be safely ascribed to infants not older than a few weeks [42, 43, 44, 45]. An elder child's or an adult's ability not to construe all of her mental states as shared is made possible by the later development of the capability to differentiate one's own mental states from those that may be ascribed to the partner. Mindreading then builds on the latter development. The idea that sharedness is a primitive capability of the human mind has a certain amount of empirical support and contributes to founding a view of communication as a faculty, or competence, in its own respect [46]. It is crucial to note here that, on this account, this ability is a mental one. Sharedness is mental: like everything mental, it reflects in the individual's actions, but cannot be recovered from the empirical or material levels alone.

6.3 Human agency An agent is a conscious organism who lives in a dynamic situation and strives to make it more to her liking; the situation is a subjective, open, and continuingly revised interpretation of the environment [29, 46]. An agent's mind consists in a flow of consciousness, that is, in a flow of subjective, meaningful representations. For our current purposes we, like other researchers [47, 48, 49], conceive of terms like mind, consciousness, representation, semantics, and Intentionality as synonymous. In the case of the human species, the mind consists in a flow of meaningful representations of the agent herself immersed in and interacting with her subjective environment as it is, was, or could be.

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The agent's subjective situation is a dynamical landscape of meanings; meanings are opportunities for actions (affordances, in Gibson's terms [50, 51]). Representations neither need nor can be faithful to the real world. They are active constructions that the agent makes of an ultimately unknowable reality, by superimposing a subjective ontology [52] on it that may comprise different types of objects, relations, events, and actions. An agent's subjective ontology and the representations into which it is embedded just need be compatible with the external reality, whatever its ultimate nature may be. An agent's subjective ontology and representations result from its phylogenetic and ontogenetic history as well as from the reading that she makes of the current situation. That is, there is no a priori catalogue of discrete, pre-defined entities given once and for all and kept in a repository from which they are extracted and employed when needed; instead, the mind is continuingly re-created in the agent's here and now [53, 54]. More specifically, the human mind entertains some interesting properties. Our mental life is structured along two interwoven dimensions that may be called experience and description, or narration [55, 56]. Every experience of ours incorporates a description that rises from it and allows for its form, structure and sense and that results from a mix of (fragments of) logical, causal, and psychological explanations, retrograde reconstructions and anterograde projections, linguistic labeling and redescriptions, narrative integrations and so on. Actually, it is imprecise to say that experience and description are interwoven: they structure and determinate each other in a circular way, so much so that it is impossible to keep them separate, except for descriptive purposes. Phenomenically, they are one and the same thing. The idea that human cognition is such a complex but unitary dynamics traces back in modern science at least to Michotte's demonstration that his subjects "directly" perceived causality even when there was none and incorporated it into their visual experience, to the point of being unable not to do so [57]. Causality thus becomes one of the crucial structural components of the subjective ontology of the human species and therefore of the world we perceive.1 When we see or think of a car we cannot help sensing features to it that go beyond its mere visual appearance: under normal conditions, we can recognize it as an artificial object, namely a machinery of sort, we can assign a linguistic label to it, we know what it is for and how to use it, we have a sort of memory or bodily image of what it feels like to drive it or to travel in it, we have at least a rough idea of its material structure and monetary value, and so on. Our knowledge about the car is not distinct from our visual perception or imagery of it: like its shape or color, it is an ineliminable part of our perception of it. Exactly like we cannot possibly see the car with a shape different from what it appears to us, we cannot see it without recognizing it as a car, knowing that it is made for driving, and so on; and, exactly like its color or its shape, the knowledge that we have of it arises in and from the interaction that we have with it as well as with other encounters with or descriptions of cars that we may have faced in the past.


In Michotte's experiments, subjects who were shown, for example, cartoons depicting couples of abstract forms moving could not help interpreting them in terms of, e.g., the triangle "pursuing" the square, who was "waiting for it" or "fleeing from it", and so on. In today's terms, what Michotte was exploring actually was the human perception of Intentional causation, that is mindreading.


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Still more pervasively, our knowledge of cars modifies a whole range of activities and creates new ones. Our perception of what places can be reached within a certain time, how, and with how much effort, changes, and so do our representations of the territory within which we act or of our professional or social activities. Even our perception of the physical space that our body occupies changes when we drive. In general, our knowledge of cars modifies our representation of the world and of ourselves in the world. Such modification is not supplementary to a supposedly "basic functioning" of our mind: there is no way I can divide my experience of driving into an experience of me-without-car, plus a car with no experiential connotations, plus a superordinate description of the whole business. There exists instead the complex experience of me-in-the-car-in-the-street involved in the complex activity of driving while narrating to myself what is happening, how, and why, and what has happened immediately before, and what is going to happen next and what I can do about it. Actions are the external counterpart of these mental dynamics. When I meet a friend, I can rejoice, smile, and shake hands with him. This happens because I represent and narrate the whole situation in which I find myself as characterized by certain features, to which I react by forming certain emotions, desires and intentions. This leads me to engage in a social activity in the end, what happens is that I walk toward my friend, smiling and offering him to shake hands. An agent's cognitive dynamics across time thus results from the interaction of her mind/body with the subjective internal and the external environments. The specific patterns with which this happens are rooted in her phylogenetic and ontogenetic history, as well as in her current interests and feelings. What can be said in general terms is that they depend on the worldviews that the agent maintains. Worldviews are frameworks of interpretation that provide for the meaning that a certain situation and its current features have for a certain agent at a certain time. For example, my intention to rise from this chair, go to the fridge and take a beer only makes sense because it is part of my current worldview that I am sitting, that I might use a beer, that there is one in the refrigerator, that the floor that lies between me and the refrigerator will sustain me while I walk, that I will be able to open the refrigerator and to recognize and grab the beer can, and so on. An agent's engagement in an activity is sensibly understood only against the background provided by such worldviews [53, 54, 58]. Worldviews need not be fully represented for an agent to represent, narrate and engage in an activity; indeed, they typically are not. We usually do not even conceive of the possibility that the floor of our kitchen is not so solid as it seems; nonetheless, it is because we take it for granted that it is that we can engage in the beer-taking activity. Still, as adult human beings we can always focus on some features of the worldviews in which we are currently engaged and possibly reason upon them or verbalize them: but this is a mental and social activity in itself, in which language and education (and, in general, ontogeny) play a key role, and is not necessarily part of the beer-taking activity. Indeed, most of the times we drink beer without feeling any need to verbalize the worldviews that underlie such activity and,

without our being necessarily aware of it. we do not focus on sharedness. it plays a manifest role in the artifacts that we can materially use to communicate. producing and interpreting the relevant actions. and what role does sharedness play in it? There are. that is. Our notion of worldviews is meant to stand on an autonomous ground.2 6. we are not even aware that there is an issue of sharedness at play here. Analyses in terms of mental states have been standard practice in theoretical studies of communication for half a century. When sharedness is actually present to our mind. and can thus provide the framework of interpretation within which the various communicative acts that we exchange acquire their meaning. Our communicative acts take place within the framework provided by sharedness. then an analysis in terms of private and shared beliefs may be appropriate. we laugh about other colleagues. and so on all feats that we accomplish without even realizing that they are possible and meaningful only because we take it for granted that our interlocutor and we share similar knowledge. Sharedness is part of the worldview that we are adopting. but on the actual topic of conversation. we can always focus on sharedness and reason upon it or verbalize it. we can only focus on a small subset of the features of our worldviews. it may be a mental state or part thereof. Our partner does exactly the same. three such roles. at least since Grice's paper [24] which we have repeatedly mentioned (see [46] for a discussion of the structure and 2 Our notion of worldviews may resemble Searle's (1983) notion of Background. Bosco / On the Nature and Role of Intersubjectivity 91 even when we decide to do so.4 Communication What. Yet. the same happens when we write a paper (although this is a much more troublesome activity) or a message to put in a bottle and launch into the wide ocean. none is likely to really question the status of sharedness. While we have no space to discuss the similarities and differences. we speak Italian. even if the both of us also speak English and French. However. that is when we become aware that our partner and we are moving or failing to move on a shared mental ground. The first is that sharedness has to be part of the communicating agent's worldview. of the background within which we participate in communication. we have opted for a different label because we think that there are certain difficulties inherent to Searle's Background which we do not want to inherit here. or even of our engagement in and represention and narration of that conversation. we use kind words and a gentle voice. memories. e. . Tirassa and F. we trade references to previous experiences we had together. feelings. When we engage in a casual conversation with a colleague in the elevator that is bringing us to our story.g.. then. that is. Firstly. etc. in our view. mental dynamics. Thirdly. when we realize that a breakdown has occurred in conversation. Yet. is communication in the human species. of course. it is not necessarily part of our conscious states. Under normal conditions. Secondly. None has access to the other's mind. and yet communication flows smoothly. something which is present to the agent's awareness and which the agent can reason upon and verbalize.M.M. And. Let us examine these roles in better detail. sharedness has to be part of the current worldview.

Thanks to the experience/description dynamics we have outlined. on the actual topics of communication). This is only possible in a species whose members are capable (i) of sharedness in the different forms we have outlined. With communication. "Overtly" means that a partial comprehension of the actress's situation is intentionally shown to the partners and thus made part of their situation.M. rather. and even insincerely) into partial descriptions and then possibly to act so that. part of each agent's situation is subject to the others' scrutiny and partial control. Communicative meanings are partial (and not necessarily sincere) descriptions of the actress's mental dynamics. the mental dynamics of other humans are properly modified. such public knowledge interferes with the mental dynamics of the partner(s). Communicative meanings are the material counterparts of sharedness. Tirassa and F. communicative meanings are virtual artifacts that are produced and function in the mental space that the interactants share. When everything works. and (ii) of externalizing a description of appropriately chosen features of their situation. but in other situations it does not yet communication takes place and can be successful in the latter case as well as in the former. in this context. Thus emerges the "choreographic" nature of communication. Bosco / On the Nature and Role of Intersubjectivity import of mental states talk in this area). Mindreading only enters the process when the partner happens to wonder what the actress's mental dynamics really were as she produced a certain communicative meaning. given the grounds provided by sharedness. 3 We have already argued that "material". Communication thus takes place when an actress overtly tries to interfere with some other agent's situation. gestures. or of the time and space that may separate the interlocutors. of course. the public knowledge at play and the peculiar nature of the human mind allow the participants to "zoom in" and "out" on their respective mental states and worldviews (as well as. even areas traditionally as far removed from phenomenology or from a holistic conception of cognition as could be. The partner may or may not materially cooperate with this operation: in face-to-face conversations this typically (but not necessarily) happens. During this activity. and this is the third role that such notion plays in our analysis. humans are capable to summarize their situations (whether actual or not. This is independent of whether it occurs with language. A rewording of this idea might be as follows: communicative meanings are reifications of the actress's situation that are externalized in a form that may become public knowledge of all the parties involved. or even sheer silence. including communication. like classical cognitive science and artificial intelligence. may have a peculiar meaning — see the example in (4) and the relevant discussion. overtly reified and externalized so that the partners' mental dynamics are modified. it emerges from the relative commonality and predictability of the participants' respective mental dynamics. . modifying them in the direction that the actress desired. have found themselves in the need to adopt a BDI (Belief-Desire-Intention [59]) paradigm for the study of private and social action. as well as from social customs and conventions. however. Such choreography. and to the capability of understanding and manipulating such dynamics. Interestingly. is seldom planned as such.3 Independently of their material appearance.92 M.

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............ 100 From intention to agency: the role of presence ................................................................. but full intentional granularity requires the activity of higher cortical levels.... Core Self.......... Both Presence and Social Presence evolve in time. 103 The evolution of presence.......... This capacity also enables them to go beyond the surface appearance of behavior to draw inferences about other individuals’ intentions (Social Presence): others are “present” to us if we are able to recognize them as enacting beings.................. Morganti et al..................4 7.......................................................Enacting Intersubjectivity F.................8 Introduction........ intentions and self ................... Autobiographical Self)....................... (Eds................ we can identify higher levels of Presence and Social Presence associated to higher levels of intentional granularity: the more is the complexity of the expressed and recognized intentions...... 112 References........................................................................5 7....... the feeling of being and acting in a world outside us. the more is the level of Presence and Social Presence experienced by the Self............. More.............. All rights reserved...3 7.... 2008 © 2008 The authors.............................................................. 98 What is agency ....... In this framework...................................... and their evolution is strictly related to the three-stage model of the ontogenesis of Self introduced by Damasio (Proto-Self............................. 97 7 Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence Giuseppe RIVA Abstract: The chapter presents a conceptual framework that links the enaction of our intentions to the understanding of other people’s intentions through the concept of “Presence”....... Specifically the chapter suggests that humans develop intentionality and Self by prereflexively evaluating agency in relation to the constraints imposed by the environment (Presence): they are “present” if they are able to enact in an external world their intentions.......) IOS Press. 98 The simulation approach and the arguments against it ................. Contents 7.1 7....................................7 7. motor intentions and mirror neurons are at the basis of the intentional chain................. 112 ........ 108 Conclusions............ 110 Acknowledgments...........6 7.....................2 7.

Susan Hurley. Lawrence Barsalou. The main arguments are three: . the emulator derives predictions about the future course of others’ actions. internally simulating the ongoing perceived movement… The present proposal suggests that. In this chapter our aim is twofold: a) we will outline three general arguments against the covert/implicit simulation approach. Jane Heal.mirror neurons are not enough to explain social cognition. Specifically we suggest that humans develop intentionality and Self by evaluating agency in relation to the constraints imposed by the environment (Presence): they are “present” if they are able to enact their intentions in an external space. . Guenter Knoblich and Margaret Wilson to support their view: the mirror system instantiates simulation of transitive actions used to map the goals and purposes of others’ actions [3. social cognition addresses how people process social information: its encoding. in tasks requiring fast action coordination. retrieval. and during the observation of similar actions performed by another individual [1. Rizzolatti and colleagues found that a functional cluster of premotor neurons (F5c-PF) contains “mirror neurons”. Vittorio Gallese.98 G. the information-processing system that enables us to engage in social behavior.” (pp. which could be integrated with the actions one is currently planning. 4]. Marc Jeannerod. subpersonal process: “The various brain areas involved in translating perceived human movement into corresponding motor programs collectively act as an emulator. was used by Simulation Theorists for example. This capacity also enables them to go beyond the surface appearance of behavior to draw inferences about other individuals’ intentions (Social Presence): others are “present” to us if we are able to recognize them as enacting beings. Specifically. storage. 7. The general framework outlined by the above results.the covert simulation is not a simulation but a perceptual elicitation. and (b) we will try to address them within a general framework that links the enaction of our intentions to the understanding of other people’s intentions. and use in social situations. goalrelated hand actions.the covert simulation is not a simulation but a sensory forward prediction. a class of neurons that are activated both during the execution of purposeful. As clearly explained by Wilson and Knoblich [5] this is the outcome of an implicit/covert. . Alvin Goldman. . 468-469). 2].2 The simulation approach and the arguments against it Even if the covert/implicit simulation approach is gaining momentum within cognitive science.1 Introduction A central objective of contemporary cognitive science is the explanation of “Social Cognition”. different authors raised arguments against it. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 7. An important step towards the understanding of how we handle social information came from the recent discovery of neuronal resonance processes activated by the simple observation of others.

mouth opening. Interestingly. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 99 The first argument is based on a simple consideration: we are able to “mind read” beliefs. tongue protrusion and finger movement.” (p. appeared in the interdisciplinary conference “What do mirror neurons means”. The second argument against covert simulation was recently raised by Shaun Gallagher [12]. Meltzoff. According to this author. Decety and Meltzoff [8] designed a functional neuroimaging experiment. available online at the address: http://www. These authors claim that the subject already sees the meaning of the other’s actions because the neuronal resonance processes (action mirroring) are generated by some form of action reconstruction (teleological reasoning). The results show that. Chaminade. simulation is a personal-level concept that cannot be legitimately applied to subpersonal processes. 13] is strictly related to the previous one. As underlined by Gallagher: “The nature of the resonance processes involved in such encounters makes our perception of other conspecifics different from our perception of objects and instruments. the newborns’ first response to seeing a facial gesture is the activation of the corresponding body part [7]: it is as if young infants isolate what part of their body to move before how to move it (organ identification). desires. with questions and answers from both sides. it suggests the existence of some specific processes selecting what to imitate. .G. Usually simulationists answer to this question underlining the role played by the imitation process in understanding behaviors. found that newborns even only 42 minutes old demonstrate successful facial imitation. the neuronal resonance processes allowed by mirror neurons instantiate a form of enactive social perception a common bodily intentionality that is shared by the perceiving subject and the perceived other that is not a simulation. overlapping activity was found in the right dorsolateral prefrontal area and in the cerebellum. The last argument. and such mind reading is our primary and pervasive way of understanding their behavior. To explore the neural correlates of this ability. In effect. and intentions of others. raised by Csibra and Gergely [10. But it does not make our perception and understanding of others the result of an implicit simulation. when subjects imitated either the goal or the means to achieve it. How mirror neurons are able to provide the richness required for representing a subject’s social intention [6]? An interesting discussion about this topic. 10]. in his life-long research about infant imitation.interdisciplines. Moreover he found that 12–21-day-old infants can imitate four different adult gestures: lip protrusion.org/mirror/papers/1). Gergely and colleagues showed that a novel response illuminating a box by touching it with the head imitatively learned from the demonstration of a human model is retained by infants in spite of the availability and production of more readily accessible and rational response alternatives the use of the hands that also produce the same effect [11]. There is a main criticism to the possible role of imitation in understanding behaviors coming from Gergely and Csibra [9. Csibra and Gergely [13] suggest that the resonance processes are not retrodictive. Specifically. 363). This suggests that imitative learning of novel actions is a qualitatively different process in humans than the imitative copying that has been demonstrated in several other animal species. In brief.

and mediated by tools (artifacts) in collaboration with others (community). The Activity Theory is the result of a larger effort to develop a new psychology based on Marxist philosophy. the activity is to obtain a Ph. This was one of the main efforts of the Activity Theory. we will start our discussion from a deeper analysis of the phenomenology of agency. structure and processes of their activities [17].g. Leont'ev and Luria in the 1920s and 1930s [18]. however. planned and directed towards achieving a goal. However. In particular. Following this suggestion. it is also possible to categorize actions according to their underlying intentions. Specifically. Leont’ev [19] distinguished.1 Agency: from intention to action and self If actions have to be evaluated in relation to their goals. The activity of the subject moves toward the object of a specific need and terminates when it is satisfied. different authors (for example. For these authors any activity is motivated toward the solution of a problem or purpose (object).Each activity is then translated into reality through a specific or a set of Actions. and it is possible to identify different intentional forms [15. .g.100 G.Activity is the highest level: the direct answer to a specific objective of the subject. three different levels (see Figure 1) related to the different objects driving it: . Each action is a process performed with conscious thought and effort. For example. Any objective e. is whether there is a different account that can avoid these objections. helping anorectic girls is closely related to a motive e.3. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence they do not recover the intention that generated the action but predictive they emulate the action needed to achieve a hypothesized goal. In reference to Figure 1. within the general activity of the subject. an objective is a process characterizing the activity as a whole.D. a psychological approach that aimed to understand humans through an analysis of the genesis. there is not a shared vision about how our brain makes use of this system. In sum. in spite the growing neuroscientific evidence that humans are endowed with a mirror system. is translated in a set of actions: going to the library for .D. 16]. the neurobiological models of the mirror neuron system often state that action understanding is based on mapping the surface properties of observed actions onto the observer’s motor system. Is it really used for the development of social cognition skills? The real question. the activity obtain a Ph.3 What is agency As we have seen previously. in Psychology. and places this analysis into a broader context that entails constraints imposed by the current environmental situation. [14]) suggest that action understanding must also consist of a mechanism that evaluates action means in relation to goals. initiated by a group of revolutionary Russian psychologists Vygotsky. starting from the analysis of the phenomenology of agency. the need of self actualization and both have to be considered in the analysis of an activity. 7. see Wood et al. We turn now to the construction of a possible alternative account. in reference to Figure 1. 7.

Further. and as prompters of practical reasoning about means and plans.g. etc. Each action can then be split in sub-activities. it is possible to identify three different levels of human activity (see Figure 1) Activity. All the operations e. According to this author. Condition. an Operation can become an Action according to learning and environmental conditions. “helping anorectic girls” is a D-intention.Actions and sub-actions are developed through Operations: if actions are connected to conscious goals. Figure 1: The structure of agency The structure of agency suggested by the Activity Theory has many similarities with the Dynamic Theory of Intentions presented by Pacherie [16. each related to a sub-goal: searching for books on eating disorders. . etc. discussing it with the tutor. 20]. proximal intentions (P-intentions) and motor intentions (Mintentions): . it is possible to identify three different categories or forms of intentions using their different roles and contents (see Figure 1): distal intentions (D-intentions). These intentions are responsible for high-level (conscious) forms of guidance and monitoring. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 101 searching the sources. preparing an index.G. they . In sum..D-intentions (Future-directed intentions). More. More in detail. These intentions are terminators of practical reasoning about ends and have conceptual and descriptive contents. D-intentions almost overlap objectives as defined by the Activity Theory: in the activity described in Figure 1. In reference to Figure 1. operations are related to behaviors performed automatically. are oriented by some conditions: specific constrains and affordances related to the characteristics of a given tool such as the size of the paper.g. the operation of taking notes on an exercise book is done automatically. any activity level can move both up and down e. without a conscious focus on the movement of the fingers. Action. the movements of the fingers to guide the pen however.and interpersonal coordinators. Operation according to their specific object Motive. They also act both as intra. writing the first chapter outline. the shape of the pen that influence the outcome of the operation.P-intentions (Present-directed intentions). . any human activity is directed toward a specific object. Goal.

as defined by Activity Theory: in the activity described in Figure 1. medial forebrain and insular and somatosensory cortices). 22] states that internalization and externalization are the dialectical mechanisms behind the development of the Self. Further.102 G. . Activity Theory also suggests that human activity should be analyzed in the context of development. the physical state of the organism. These intentions are responsible for low-level (unconscious) forms of guidance and monitoring: we may not be aware of them and have only partial access to their content. More. On the other side. the sense of self depends on the creation of a second-order mapping. knowledge structures and moments of internal activity organize and regulate external social processes (externalization). their contents are not propositional.the Autobiographical Self: a systematic record of the more invariant properties that the organism has discovered about itself. . M-Intentions are quite similar to conditions. On one side external activity transform internal cognitive processes (internalization). as suggested by the Activity Theory. Specifically. hypothalamus. “preparing the dissertation” is a D-intention.the Core Self: a transient entity which is continuously generated through encounters with objects.the Proto Self: a coherent collection of neural patterns that map. . In sum. . P-intentions are similar to goals as defined by the Activity Theory: in the activity described in Figure 1. 24]: . moment by moment. the motor representations required to move the pen are M-intentions. 20]: higher intentions generate lower intentions.M-intentions (Motor intentions). In essence. However. situational (P-Intention) and motor (M-Intention) guidance and control of action. of how the Proto Self has been altered [23]. any intentional level has its own role: the rational (D-intentions). Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence have to ensure that the imagined actions become current through situational control of their unfolding. It is interesting to note that the three-level structure of agency suggested by the Activity Theory is very close in certain respects to the three-stage model of the ontogenesis of Self introduced by Damasio (Figure 2). In this vision. in certain brain regions (brainstem nuclei. it is only the Autobiographical Self that generates the subjective experience of possessing a transtemporal identity. the basis for a conscious Self is a feeling state that arises when organisms represent a non-conscious Proto-Self in the process of being modified by objects. This author distinguishes between a preconscious precedent of Self and two distinct notions of selfconsciousness [23. Vygotsky [21. As before. they form an intentional cascade [16.

More in detail. However. And in Section 4 we will introduce “Social Presence” a cognitive process that evaluates intentions using the same predictive model used by Presence. evolved from the interplay of our biological and cultural inheritance whose goal is to produce a strong sense of agency and control [28-33]: Presence as the feeling of being and acting in a world outside me.4 From intention to agency: the role of presence Integrating the previous theories.1 The concept of presence In its more general use the term “Presence” has referred to a widely reported sensation experienced during the use of virtual reality or other media [25-27]. the feeling of being and acting in a world outside us. To understand the relationship between Presence and action we have to start from the link between percept and behavior: recent neuropsychological research showed that the contents of subject’s perception guide action in space and locate . the goal of this paragraph is to outline a conceptual framework directly linking Self. a growing number of researchers consider Presence as a neuropsychological phenomenon. The next sections will deepen these points. Section 2 will introduce the phenomenology of Presence.G. by differentiating between Presence-as-process and Presence-as-feeling. intentions and activity through the concept of “Presence”. One key assumption guiding this attempt is that the three levels of Self identified by Damasio can be directly connected (see Figure 2) to specific intentional forms and activities (intentional granularity). we suggest that humans develop intentionality and Self by evaluating prereflexively their agency in relation to the constraints imposed by the environment: they are “present” if they are able to enact their intentions. In Section 3 we will discuss the concept of “Proto Naked Intentionality”. This capacity also enables them to go beyond the surface appearance of behavior to draw inferences about other individuals’ intentions: others are “present” to us if we are able to recognize them as enacting beings. 7. In Section 1 we will introduce the concept of “Presence” by describing the link between action and perception.4. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 103 Figure 2: From self to agency 7. the innate human ability of recognizing M-intentions within the perceptual field.

Waskan [36] suggests that we represent phenomena by thinking in terms of the mechanisms by which the phenomena may be produced.” (p. cognitive models of complex. Within this view. worldy constraints” (p. It allows the identification and recognition of objects and scenes. In sum. “humans harbor and manipulate specific. its shape and size will be represented in terms of the type of handgrip it affords.g. our italics). An example can help in understanding this point. According to this vision. when we lift a book to retrieve a pen from under it is an action taken on the basis of a belief about where the pen is located relative to the Self. these results suggest that the brain contains a specific cognitive module that binds intentional actions to their effects to construct a coherent conscious experience of our own agency. and his/her purposes. 40]. In other words [36]. the subject locates himself/herself in an external space according to the action he can do in it. the subject is “present” in a space if he/she can act in it.” (p. 195). In sum [36]. but also as a function of the costs associated with performing intended actions. if I want to grab the pen. Presence has a simple but critical role in our everyday experience: the control of agency (enaction of intentions) through the unconscious separation of “internal” and “external” [39. the subject is “present” in the space real or virtual where he/she can act in. Presence is defined as the non mediated (prereflexive) perception of successfully transforming an intention in action (enaction) within an external world [41]. its spatial position will be represented in terms of the movements needed to reach for it. 35]. the explicit awareness of spatial layout varies not only with relevant optical and ocular-motor variables. what he/she can do in it. . Recently Proffitt [37] provided an experimental support to this vision: his data showed that under conditions of constant visual stimulation. as suggested previously by Piaget (assimilation) and Gibson (affordance). The recent research of Haggard and Clark [42. In sum.104 G. In other words.Vision for Action. More. This experimental result is backed by the discovery of two different visual systems [38]: . inter-dimensional. In other words. 43] on voluntary and involuntary movements provides a direct support to the existence of a specific cognitive process binding intentions with actions. Further. In their words [43]: “Taken as a whole. It extracts from the visual stimuli information used to build motor representations used in effecting rapid visuo-motor transformations. 170. intrinsic. . the apparent dimensions of surface layout expand and contract with changes in the energetic costs associated with intended actions. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence the subject in the perceived world [34. It follows that to know that the pen exists when it is occluded is a matter of knowing what can be done to make the pen visible. Retrieving an occluded object e. “one cannot see a place as being there1 rather than there2 without knowing what it would be to act there1 rather than there2. More. 385).Vision for Semantical Perception. Extending this vision. we conceive places in terms of the actions we could take towards them: the subject has not a separate knowledge of the place’s location relative to him/her.

From the computational viewpoint. The Presence-as-process is the continuous activity of the brain in separating “internal” and “external” within different kinds of afferent and efferent signals. when we move much of what we perceive as action is tagged to our intention to move rather than to our perception of what has happened as a result of movement. As clarified by Russell [44] and in agreement with Gallagher: “Action-monitoring is a subpersonal process that enables the subjects to discriminate between self-determined and world-determined changes in input. a higher level of Presence-as-feeling is experienced by the Self as a better quality of action and experience [32].first. the predicted state is compared with the actual sensory feedback.G. the agent perceives directly only the variations in the level of Presence-as-feeling: breakdowns and optimal experiences [41]. it is critical to distinguish between Presenceas-process and Presence-as-feeling. In fact. how we can recognize them in others: how can we distinguish between a blink and a wink? .2 The phenomenology of presence From a phenomenological viewpoint. For instance. 7. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 105 7. the Presence-as-feeling the non-mediated (prereflexive) perception that agent’s intentions are successfully enacted is not separated by the experience of the subject but it is directly related to it. . It corresponds to what Heidegger [46] defined “the interrupted moment of our habitual standard.4. For this reason. the agent tries to overcome any breakdown in its activity and searches for engaging and rewarding activities (optimal experiences). in a reaching task.third. It can give rise to a mode of experience (the experience of being the cause of altered inputs and the experience of being in control) but it is not itself a mode of experience. the agent produces the motor command for achieving a desired state given the current state of the system and the current state of the environment. . Specifically. Fourneret and Jeannerod [45] have shown that. At this point we can argue that is the feeling of Presence that provides to the agent a feedback about the status of its activity: the agent perceives the variations in the feeling of Presence and tunes its activity accordingly. Errors derived from the difference between the desired state and the actual state can be used to update the model and improve performance. However.4.” (p. we are more aware of where we direct movement of the arm and hand (and where it appears to go) than to where the hand actually moves. an efference copy of the motor command is fed to a forward dynamic model that generates a prediction of the consequences of performing this motor command.second.263). More. this is achieved through a forward-inverse model: . As result.3 Proto naked intentionality: the innate ability to recognize m-intentions In the previous section we suggested that Presence allows the subject to monitor the enaction of his/her intentions. comfortable being-in-the-world”.

Specifically. emotional ways so to link each other’s subjectivity. Legrand [55] underlines that: “Mechanisms of identification and attribution are necessary in order to disambiguate "naked intentions" and attribute the action/intention to an identified agent. However. at a pre-reflective level. show a special sensitivity to communication and participate in emotional sharing with their caregivers [47]. Further.140). Finally. we agree that the experience of the agent-as-subject remains prior to any intentional process of self-identification. these intentions are “naked”. it is true that this discrimination is completely neurological and sub-personal. Gallagher [12] argued that: “Phenomenologically (experientially) intentions in almost all cases come already fully clothed in agent specification. The wonderful thing about the ‘‘Who system’’ is that it is completely neurological and subpersonal. because the neural systems have already decided the issue. not directly attributed to a subject: ‘‘Our contention is that this [premotor] cortical network provides the basis for the conscious experience of goal-directedness – the primary awareness of intentions – but does not by itself provide us with a conscious experience of Selfor Other.” (p. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence There is a large body of evidence underlying that infants. 50-52] proposing the existence of a biological mechanism allowing infants to perceive others “like them” at birth. It is true that our direct perception is highly reliable in discriminating between Self and non-Self. this implies focusing exclusively on consciousness of the agentas-object leaving aside its foundation: the primary experience of oneself as an agent-as-subject. The ‘‘who’’ question does not come up at the level of experience. In fact. even in the first months of life. Meltzoff goes further [7. something more than the sole awareness of a naked intention is needed to determine its author….. other scholars have proposed different arguments and explanations against this position.agency… We can be aware of an intention.475) In general. However. Following Jeannerod and Pacherie [54] we believe that infants have a direct ability of recognizing . we agree with both remarks. 358). A more radical position was recently suggested by Jeannerod and Pacherie [54]. In this vision the infant considers his own mental states as mutually and overtly known to the caregiver. Trevarthen [48.” (p.” (p. of others’ subjectivity: he/she is conscious of other’s mental states and reacts in communicative. we take a related but different position. 49] argues that an infant is conscious. from birth. In their view infants have a direct ability “naked” intentionality of recognizing intentional behaviors in their perceptual field. Further.. For instance. without by the same token being aware of whose intention it is. Extending this vision Tirassa and colleagues [53] argue that infants are in a particular state that they define “sharedness”: the infant’s capability to take it for granted that the caregiver is aware of his/her mental states and will act accordingly.106 G.

it can be described as a sophisticated form of monitoring of others’ actions transparent to the Self but critical for its social abilities. there are two critical differences between our position and the one presented by these authors: .Only M-Intentions are naked at birth. it does not recover the intention that generated the action but predictive it emulates the action needed to achieve a hypothesized goal. 188). neonates probably begin by coding the goals of pure body acts and only later enrich the notion of goals to encompass object directed acts.Is through Presence that neonates differentiate between internal and external intentions. different but directly connected to the Presence one. However. we define as “Social Presence” the non mediated (prereflexive) perception of an enacting Other within an external world. we suggest that this processes is not retrodictive.4. In sum. through the development of a common spatial and temporal framework with external objects [57]. . But when does it start? We favor the hypothesis that it begins at birth… The hypothesis is not that neonates represent goal directedness in the same way as adults do. which can be characterized in the following terms: to be able to recognize a motor intention (M-intention) without being aware of whose intention it is. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 107 intentional motor behaviors in their perceptual field. because they are the only ones available at that time. infants have “naked” proto-intentionality: a primitive and innate mental state type. The Social-Presence-as-process is the continuous activity of the brain in identifying Other’s intentions within the perceptual field. However. it follows the same approach used by the Presence-asprocess: . infants construe human acts in goal-directed ways. is through Presence.4 From presence to social presence Even if Presence allows the identification of the Other as another intentional Self.” (p. In fact. we need a new cognitive process (Social Presence). the emergence of the Self also leads to the recognition of the “Other” as “another intentional Self”. the agent recognizes the motor command. we distinguish between Social-Presence-as-process and SocialPresence-as-feeling. So. More. In fact. As for Presence. 7. More in detail. between their actions and those of others. Following Csibra and Gergely [10]. the current state of the other .G. that the agent becomes a self. able to differentiate between internal and external intentions/actions. This position is not so far from what suggested by Meltzoff and Brooks [56]: “Evidently. naked proto-intentionality allows infants to detect intentionality they recognize that a M-intention is being enacted but neither to detect higher level intentions they do not recognize D-intentions and P-intentions – nor to identify the motives of motor behaviors they do not recognize why the specific M-intention is being enacted.first. tracking the behavior of the Other to understand his/her intentions. From the computational viewpoint.

The Self experiences reflexively the Social-Presence-as-feeling only when the quality of his experience is modified during a social interaction: according to the level of Social Presence experienced by the subjects. Self and Presence. the recognition of others’ intentions using a forward model allows interpretation without prior experience since. Supporting this vision. they will experience intentional opacity on one side. . 61]: our capacity to prereflexively identify with others. following the three-stage model of the ontogenesis of Self (Proto-Self. Within this scheme. First. we can identify higher levels of Presence and Social Presence associated to higher levels of intentional granularity. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence agent and the current state of the environment. . the predicted state is compared with the actual sensory feedback. In fact the Social-Presence-as-feeling is not separated by the experience of the subject but it is related to the quality of his/her social interactions.5 The evolution of presence. According to their model. which are activated both for mental simulation during action observation and for feedback-delay compensation during movement. Autobiographical Self) proposed by Damasio [24]. Recently. it will be interpretable without any training. . Core Self.third. as long as an intentional movement or behavior is in the repertoire of the Self. Specifically. mirror neurons can be involved in the sensory forward prediction of goal-directed movements. Kilner and colleagues [59] introduced a predictive coding framework for mirror neurons on the basis of a statistical approach known as empirical Bayesian inference. From an evolutive viewpoint this approach has two strengths. intentions and self A key assumption of the model we just presented is a strict link between intentions. Here we try to add a broader claim: Presence and Social Presence evolve in time. the most likely cause of an observed action can be inferred by minimizing the prediction error at all levels of the cortical hierarchy that are engaged during action observation.second. More. and their evolution is strictly related to the evolution of Self. and communicative attuning and synchrony on the other side [62]. Oztop and colleagues [58] showed that the motor modules of the observer can be used in a “predictive mode” to infer the mental state of the actor. Errors derived from the difference between the predicted state and the actual state can be used to update the model and improve performance. it can be seen as the brain’s attempt to minimize the free energy induced by a stimulus by encoding its most likely cause [59]. The concept of Social-Presence-as-feeling is similar to the concept of “intentional attuning” suggested by Gallese [60. 7. an efference copy of the motor command is fed to a forward dynamic model that generates a prediction of the consequences of performing this motor command.108 G. Social-Presence-as-feeling is instead the non mediated perception of others’ intentions.

When the Self experiences the highest level of Presence and Social Presence he is able to express. the enaction and recognition of high-level intentions D-Intentions requires higher levels of Presence and Social Presence. . More precisely we can define “Proto Presence” the process of internal/external separation related to the level of perception-action coupling (Self vs. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 109 Figure 3: The evolution of self. present external world – P-Intentions). 41]). Action. non Self – M-Intentions). enact and recognize complex intentions including Subject.Extended Presence (Self relative to present external world – D-Intentions). The more the organism is able to couple correctly perceptions and movements. the higher is the complexity of the enacted and recognized intentions. Goal. . Object.G. the higher is the level of Presence and Social Presence experienced by the Self.Proto Presence (Self vs. presence and social presence As showed in Figure 3. it can be divided in three different layers/subprocesses phylogenetically different. the . the recent neuropsychological research has shown that. on the process side. In proto naked intentionality the structure of the intention includes action and goal only. 7.Core Presence (Self vs. non-Self).5. and strictly related to the evolution of Self [24]: . Way of Doing and Motive.1 The layers of presence Even if Presence is a unitary feeling. In sum. In the next two sessions we will introduce them (for a broader and more in-depth description of the layers and their interaction see [39.

Proto Social Presence allows the recognition of M-Intentions only. the more it is able to identify the present moment and its current tasks. . present external world): the more the organism is able to focus on its sensorial experience by leaving in the background the remaining neural processes. the role of “Shared Social Presence” is to allow the identification of intentional congruence and attunement in other selves (the Self and the other share the same D-intention). includes three different layers/subprocesses phylogenetically different. Core Presence allows the enaction of M-Intentions and P-Intentions only. increasing the possibility of surviving. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence more it differentiates itself from the external world. an input is relevant when its processing yields a positive cognitive effect: a worthwhile difference to the Self’s representation of the world.6 Conclusions In this chapter we tried to show that the concepts of “Presence” – the non mediated (prereflexive) perception of successfully transforming an intention in action . thus increasing its probability of surviving. the more it will be able to reach its goals. the more it is the possibility of conducting an interaction.5. The role of “Extended Presence” is to verify the relevance to the Self of experienced events in the external world (Self relative to the present external world). Only with Extended Presence the agent is able to enact all the three levels of intentions.Proto Social Presence (there is an other intentional Self ). “Interactive Social Presence” can be described the process allowing the identification of communicative intentions in other selves (the intention of the other is toward the Self).110 G. 7. thus increasing its probability of surviving. Following the Sperber and Wilson approach [63]. The more the Self is able to identify other selves. Finally.Interactive Social Presence (the intention of the Other is toward the Self). 7.Shared Social Presence (the Self and the Other share the same intention). the more it is the possibility of starting an interaction.2 The layers of social presence The study of infants and the analysis of their ability of understanding and interacting with people suggest that also Social Presence. More precisely we can define “Proto Social Presence” the process allowing the identification of other intentional selves in the phenomenological world (there is an other intentional Self). but mutually inclusive: . Proto Presence allows the enaction of M-Intentions only. The more the Self is present in relevant experiences. increasing its probability of surviving. on the process side. “Core Presence” can be described as the activity of selective attention made by the Self on perceptions (Self vs. thus increasing its probability of surviving. the more it is the possibility of starting an interaction. thus increasing its probability of surviving. . Interactive Social Presence allows the recognition of M-Intentions and P Intentions only. The more the Self is able to identify intentional attunement in other selves. The more the Self is able to identify a communicative intention in other selves.

In other words. Autobiographical Self) we can identify higher levels of Presence and Social Presence associated to higher levels of intentional granularity. mirror neurons are not directly involved in the recognition of P-Intentions and D-Intentions. 1983). such as the goal and the kinematics of the movement. As recently showed by Brass and colleagues [65] the description of the goal (P-intention) of an observed action (the operation of a light switch with the knee) is not encoded by the mirror neuron system. the agent prereflexively recognizes and evaluates the action of others using the same forward-inverse model: the prediction of the action is compared with perceptual inputs to verify its enaction. They state: “[The results] indicate that the motivational state of the organism affects neural systems involved in perception-action coupling mechanism. the prediction of others’ intentions is strictly related to the enaction of my ones: I can predict what I can enact. However. We speculate that the signals arising from the neural systems involved with drive (orbitofrontal cortex) and motivation (amygdala) enhance the activity in the mirror-neuron system to prepare the organism to behave. this chapter has its limitations: the framework here introduced is still in progress and some of the claims presented require additional theoretical work and an empirical confirmation. Obviously. They used a functional magnetic resonance experiment to demonstrate that motivation can influence activity in the human mirror-neuron system. A strong experimental support to this claim comes from a recent study by Calvo-Merino and colleagues [66] comparing dancers and non-dancers. More. Finally. signals encoding higher-level attributes of an observed action are probably expressed by the activity in higher cortical levels. Nevertheless. the short-term intentions necessary to enact the goal. Through Presence. Cheng and colleagues [64] provided a first empirical support to this vision. Core Self. Following the Damasio’s three-level model of Self (Proto-Self. Through Social Presence. Recently. the agent prereflexively controls his/her action through a forward-inverse model: the prediction of the action is compared with perceptual inputs to verify its enaction. On the other side. motor intentions are at the basis of the intentional chain but inherit their goal from higher level intentions. quite independently of the intricacies . mirror neurons are activated in P-intentions and D-intentions only within the intentional/activity chain generated by high-level intentions. Riva / Enacting Interactivity: The Role of Presence 111 (enaction) within an external world and “Social Presence” the non mediated perception of an enacting Other within an external world – can offer a conceptual framework for understanding the link between the enaction and the recognition of intentions. Both Presence and Social Presence evolve in time. may be expressed in lower cortical levels. the dancers’ mirror neurons showed more activity when they saw movements they had been trained to perform than when they observed movements they hadn't been trained to perform. the mirror system in the non-dancers showed appreciably less activity while watching the videos than either of the dancers' mirror systems. On one side. In their study. In this framework. mirror neurons have a direct role in the enaction and recognition of M-intentions only. whereas those encoding lowerlevel attributes. Within this view. as predicted by our framework. and their evolution is strictly related to the evolution of Self.G.” (p. the mirror neuron system encodes its conditions (M-intention).

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Don’t! ANNIE: (Hysterically)Oooh! Here! Here! ALVY: (Pointing) Look! Look. 1977 . look…put it in the pot. take him to the movies? Woody Allen . It’ll turn up in our bed at night.Annie Hall. I can’t put a live thing in hot water. covering her mouth and laughing hysterically. ALVY: Don’t give it to me. ANNIE: (Laughing) I can’t! I can’t put it in the pot. You speak shellfish! (He moves over the stoves and takes the lid of a large steamer filled with boiling water) Hey. teasingly dangles a lobster in front of him) Will you get outta here with that thing? Jesus! ANNIE: (Laughing. to the lobster) Get Him! ALVY: (Laughing) Talk to him. one crawled behind the refrigerator. Laughing.SECTION III FORMS OF INTERSUBJECTIVITY She drops the paddle and picks up one of the lobsters by the tail. squeamishly. Alvy moves as close to the wall as possible as Annie. she shoves it at Alvy who jerks backward. (They move over to the refrigerator. ALVY: (Overlapping) Gimme! Gimme! Let me do it! What-What’s he think we’re gonna do.

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.. We offer a model of perceptual intersubjectivity (PI)..............) IOS Press....................... The results showed conspicuous and apparently qualitative differences between the human and nonhuman subjects.......... The model involves two types: symmetric and asymmetric PI.......................... and three levels: synchronous (SPI)..... 131 Acknowledgment ...................... 118 A model of perceptual intersubjectivity .................. 2008 © 2008 The authors....Enacting Intersubjectivity F................................................................................. We hypothesize that the three levels correspond to stages in the development and possibly evolution of human perceptual intersubjectivity.....................1 8.................. 132 ....... defined on the basis of the observable behavior of the participants of (non-verbal) social interactions. Morganti et al................... Mats ANDRÉN Abstract...... 132 References................................................... Ingar BRINCK.....4 8............................................. (Eds....... and provide support for this through an empirical study of adult-infant interactions in two species of great apes (chimpanzees and bonobos) and human beings... and clear developmental patterns in the human data......6 Introduction..... Thus our analysis may contribute to the ultimate goal of understanding the nature and development of human cognitive specificity................ All rights reserved............ Contents 8............. 125 Conclusions.................2 8............................. 118 An empirical study . 117 8 Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity Jordan ZLATEV.................................... in line with goals with the collaborative project Stages in the Evolution and Development of Sign Use (SEDSU) [1] .. the phenomenon of two or more subjects focusing their attention on the same external target....................... coordinated (CPI) and reciprocal (RPI)...............5 8.....................3 8.

or reflective [3] – or on the basis of their intrinsic complexity [4-6]. or directions (e.. affective.. and it is therefore possible to hypothesize that they correspond to developmental and/or evolutionary stages [1]. Zlatev et al. Though wide-spread.118 J.6.g. where we apply the model to data from adult-infant interactions in great apes (chimpanzees and bonobos) and human beings. Individual PI episodes may be individuated in terms of their targets. One such an assessment is described in Section 3. a toy.2. more commonly known under the label ‘joint attention’.1 Introduction Intersubjectivity can be defined. Different forms of intersubjectivity can be distinguished on the basis of the most prominent form of consciousness involved – perceptual. Targets can be objects.g. and thus allowing it to be empirically assessed. while for others the term applies to more specific reciprocal states in which the subjects are also aware that they perceive the same target [8]. events. In Section 2.2 for a more precise operational definition of the notion ‘PI episode’ . In Section 4 we summarize our proposed stagebased model of perceptual intersubjectivty. most generally. as the sharing of states and processes of consciousness between two or more subjects [2]. thereby making the model applicable to empirical data involving human beings and non-human primates.g. 8. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity 8. a certain place to go to). or a person. we identify different levels of PI on the basis of the complexity of the interaction between the subjects. Two major types of PI episodes can be distinguished: 1 See Section 3. An important value of such analyses is that they can help us understand the development and evolution of human intersubjectivity. In order to test this hypothesis we provide operational definitions of the different levels of PI. present in the immediate context shared by the participants of the interaction. but formulate our definitions in way to be applicable to other modalities such as hearing and touch as well. a way in which to go).9-15] we define perceptual intersubjectivity (PI) as the process in which two or more subjects focus their attention on the same external target. The goal of the present chapter is to provide one such analysis. Building on previous work [5.1 General Definitions In most general terms perceptual intersubjectivity (PI) can be defined as the phenomenon of two or more subjects focusing their attention on the same external target. A PI episode may have one and only one target1. the meaning of the latter term is rather ambiguous: sometimes it refers to the general case in which two or more subjects perceive the same target [7]. Like most others we focus on the visual modality. but implicitly the descriptions have been thought to generalize to other modalities. spatial locations (e. focusing on the phenomenon of perceptual intersubjectivity. Most often only visual attention has been described in the literature. The term ‘object’ should be understood in a wide sense to refer to any animate or inanimate entity that occupies a position in spacetime.2 A model of perceptual intersubjectivity 8. e. These levels build on each other cumulatively.

Attention-getting: the sender’s behavior directed at the receiver. as stated in a classical definition: 2 We use these terms for ease of reference and not in their information-theoretical senses. attention-turning and persistence are markers of intentional communication. which as well-known is a blind alley. Rather. in the case of visual attention this amounts to mutual gaze. which can be observed more or less directly: Attention-focusing: the sender’s or receiver’s prolonged attention to a target. We refer to the subject who has initially noticed the target as the sender and the one who focuses her attention on the target as a consequence of the sender’s behavior the receiver. and subsequently the other subject aligns her attention with the first subject’s attention [9. Nevertheless. we can define the following more complex behaviors: Referential behavior: the sender’s behavior while attention-focusing on the target. we provide definitions of the central terms that will appear in the descriptions. we maintain that the two types have parallel levels or stages. and not with the goal of affecting the receiver’s behavior. and cannot be reduced to observable behavior or described in purely causal terms –short of behaviorism. but it is not intentionally communicative for the sender. On the other hand. . especially in the study described in Section 3. apparently causing the receiver to turn her attention toward the sender. since the intentions it involves are behaviorally manifest. with the goal of affecting her behavior. intentional communication is not something “private” and unobservable. Asymmetric: when the target initially is noticed by only one of the subjects. Prior to describing the different levels of symmetric and asymmetric PI. Zlatev et al. apparently causing the receiver to turn her attention toward the target. we will concentrate on the asymmetric type. Referential behavior can be either: Communicative: performed relative to the attentional status of the receiver. but this is not our present focus. The following four are basic behaviors.12]. Non-communicative referential behavior may of course be “communicative” from the perspective of the receiver. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity 119 Symmetric: when the target has already been noticed by both (or more) subjects [6].J. Attentiongetting. In order to avoid clumsy gender-neutral expression like “he or she” or “(s)he” we refer to the sender in the masculine and the receiver in the feminine. In discussing symmetric PI. we refer to the participants as subjects. or Non-communicative: performed in order to manipulate an object. Attention-contact: the sender’s and receiver’s focused attention on each other’s attentional state. reach a location etc. and we capture this parallelism in the presentation below. On this basis. Attention-turning: the sender’s change in attention-focusing from target to receiver (or vice versa). Intentional communication [16] is indispensible for higher levels of intersubjectivity. in the case of visual attention this amounts to gaze alternation.2 The relationship between these two types merits further research.

though of course it may do so inadvertently. in the sense that the action is not performed with the goal of affecting the behavior of another subject. with symmetric and asymmetric counterparts.2. with the result that the actions . and the reach and the grip of the hand are not adjusted so as to fit the target. The second level is coordinated PI (CPI) and consists of the subjects’ adjusting their actions relative to a perceptual target.” [17 p. Synchronous PI is not a communicative behavior. The action is performed irrespective of the attention of another subject. Although pointing gestures may look similar to reaching. then this should be classified as an instance of pointing (by the definition above). the two can be distinguished on closer examination. (2) augmentations. 8. additions. Similarly to CPI. 39] Other more specific behavioral manifestations apply to the most characteristic form of non-verbal intentional communication. but the interaction between the subjects is still more complex: Each subject will perform his or her actions in response to those performed by the other subject. On this level each action is intentionally adjusted in space and time to the actions of the other subject. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity “Intentional communication is a signalling behavior in which the sender is aware.2 Levels of perceptual intersubjectivity Based on the definitions given above. a priori. Reaching: the subject’s outstretched arm(s) and hand(s) in the direction of the target with the hand and fingers being formed as to grasp the target as the target is approached and the grip being adjusted as the distance to the target decreases. Zlatev et al.120 J. The behavioral evidence that permits us to infer the presence of communicative intentions includes (1) alternation in eye gaze contact between the goal and the intended listeners. The first level is synchronous PI (SPI). and he persists in that behavior until the effect is obtained or failure is clearly indicated. we distinguish three general levels of PI. and is achieved by the subjects’ mutually matching their actions relative to a perceptual target. which can be distinguished from its non-communicative (in the above sense) counterpart reaching as follows: Pointing: the extension of the hand (with or without the index finger outstretched) or the goal-directed movement of the head and/or some other body part towards the target – in order to affect another subject’s behavior towards the target. If the sender is not persistently trying to decrease the distance between himself and the target. the action is communicative. pointing. and consists in the subjects’ simply synchronizing their actions in time and space while performing similar individual actions relative to a perceptual target. of the effect that the signal will have on his listener. and substitution of signals until the goal has been obtained. The third level is reciprocal PI (RPI). On this level the subjects’ actions are intentionally calibrated in time and space and are communicative in the sense explicated above. rather than reaching. and (3) changes in the form of the signal towards abbreviated and/or exaggerated patterns that are appropriate only for achieving a communicative goal.

Zlatev et al. An example is an infant’s reaching toward T. or complementary. with respect to the two major types of PI: symmetric and asymmetric. with the result that both A and B focus their attention on T. possibly reaching towards T. Asymmetric SPI Level 2: Coordinated Perceptual Intersubjectivity (CPI) In the case of symmetric CPI. A Figure 1. B turns her orientation to T. as in turn-taking [5]. T has already been noticed by A and B. such as food or danger [4]. when a goat A turns its attention to a significant target (food) located behind another goat B. 3. An example would be when T belongs to a category of similar intrinsic value for both A and B. and this causes B to look towards A. 2. In the remaining part of this section we specify more clearly each one of these three levels. e. Level 1: Synchronous Perceptual Intersubjectivity (SPI) In the case of symmetric SPI. A focuses his attention on T. In contrast to Level 1. asymmetric SPI can be characterized by the following stereotypical sequence (Figure 2): 1. would qualify as belonging to this level. we have here second-order attention for both participants: both perceive that the other perceives T (Figure 3). and then turn its attention to the target by following the direction of A’s attention [18]. . causing a caregiver to notice T. and B directs her attention to A’s attention-focusing on T.g. But even more simple behaviors without reaching. such as attentional contagion. 1 3 2 A B Figure 2. In addition. B’s attention is attracted by (1). as in imitation. Symmetric SPI B On the other hand. A directs his attention to B’s attention-focusing on T. the target T has independently captured subject A’s and subject B’s attention and caused both to focus their attention on it (Figure 1).J. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity 121 will be either similar. and possibly to offer it to an infant.

3. without turning his attention to the receiver. manifest attention (e. without turning his attention to the adult. Further. A focuses his attention on T. where an infant points toward an object. B turns her attention to T. (b) complex CPI where the sender turns his attention to the receiver.122 J. by monitoring A’s attention and attitude towards T. 1 4 2 3 A B Figure 4. e.g. Asymmetric CPI can be divided into two sub-types. A can adjust his attitude to T. Symmetric coordinated perceptual intersubjectivity (CPI) An example of symmetric CPI is the following situation of social referencing: A is an infant. B is an adult. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity A B Figure 3. and T is of ambiguous value. simple CPI can be characterized by the following stereotypical sequence of behaviors (Figure 4): 1. Thus. 2. according to whether or not the sender turns his attention to and focuses on the receiver during the interaction: (a) simple CPI in which the sender ostensively attends to the target and engages in communicative referential behavior towards it. the communicative referential behavior. B can check if A is behaving appropriately towards T. gaze) or pointing.g. and possibly draws her attention to himself and his behavior (attention-getting). 4. Complex CPI may be characterized by the following stereotypical sequence (Figure 5): 1. Asymmetric simple coordinated perceptual intersubjectivity (CPI) Instances of simple CPI are simpler forms of imperative pointing.. By checking whether B is paying attention to T and looking for indications of positive or negative reactions on the part of B. B notices (2). A ostensively attends to T and engages in communicative referential behavior towards T. A focuses his attention on T. Note that the novel behavior that distinguishes simple coordinated from synchronous PI is step 2.. . Zlatev et al. however.

A ostensively attends to T and/or engages in communicative referential behavior towards T. 2. A not only attends to B’s attention to T and vice versa (as in symmetric CPI). 1 4 2a 2b 3 A B Figure 5. and then looks at the adult and sees that the adult sees that he has seen the toy. . A B Figure 6. A ostensively attends to T and engages in communicative referential behavior towards T.J. Zlatev et al. The child sees the hidden toy. and vice versa. The following example may illustrate the phenomenon: A child and an adult play a game of hiding toys. A engages in attention-getting relative to B (optional). 4. in which a child “makes sure” that the adult is attending before performing the pointing gesture. 3. B notices (2). smiles. 6. Asymmetric complex coordinated perceptual intersubjectivity (CPI) Examples of this are typical cases of imperative pointing. A turns his attention towards B. Note that the crucial behavior that distinguishes complex from simple CPI is step 3 in which the infant turns his attention towards the adult during the interaction. See Figure 6. 2b. and focuses her attention on A. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity 123 2a. 5. B turns her attention to T. A focuses his attention on T. 3. but attends to B’s attending to his (A’s) attention. Level 3: Reciprocal Perceptual Intersubjectivity (RPI) In symmetric RPI. B turns her attention to T. where only the third-level attention of the child (A) is shown. A and B establish attention contact. Symmetric reciprocal perceptual intersubjectivity (RPI) Asymmetric RPI is characterized by the following stereotypical sequence (Figure 7): 1. On this level we have third-order attention [6]. 4. B notices (2). Both acknowledge this (verbally).

which in the case of visual attention corresponds to mutual gaze.e. on Level 2. distinguishing RPI from CPI is step 4. In contrast. such as the data made available by the SEDSU project [1]. this complexity can be defined as first-order attention (Level 1). on Level 2 (coordinated PI) the sender engages in various forms of communicative referential actions such as pointing. attention-contact. In this type of PI the increased complexity is reflected by the fact that each higher level subsumes the previous ones. which in the visual modality corresponds to mutual gaze. The rationale behind this procedure is its purpose.2. In contrast.. The different types and levels of perceptual intersubjectivity may thus be distinguished on the basis of overt behaviors and their sequencing. 8. on Level 1 the behavior of the sender is not (intentionally) communicative (it is not directed towards the attention of the receiver). Finally. to construct a global model of perceptual intersubjectivity that can be applied to empirical data of adult-infant interactions in different species. second-order attention (Level 2). In the type of PI which we call asymmetric. Thus. and third-order attention (Level 3)..124 J. In the case of symmetric PI. and will differ between apes (and possibly the . they will be observed to different degrees in different periods of children’s development. where each consecutive level is of higher complexity than the previous one. Asymmetric reciprocal perceptual intersubjectivity (RPI) Examples of asymmetric RPI are typical cases of declarative pointing. but does not turn his attention to the receiver to check if his action has been noticed.2 such attention-turning occurs. the different levels are defined by sequences of behaviors. Note that the novel behavior. On Level 2.e. Zlatev et al. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity 1 6 5 2 4 3 A B Figure 7. due to the fact that initially only one of the subjects has noticed the target and the other does so due to the referential behavior of the first.3 Summary In this section we have provided a level-based analysis of perceptual intersubjectivity.1 the sender engages in ostensively manifest behaviors. cultures. i. where the target has already been noticed by the participants of the interaction. Level 3 adds attention-contact. i. This is mandatory in order to substantiate our hypothesis that the levels that we have identified correspond to developmental and possibly also evolutionary stages. during which the subjects simultaneously attend to each other’s attentional states. and also includes crucial novel behaviors. and at different ages.

J. Zlatev et al. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity


common ape-human ancestor) and human beings. This hypothesis was tested in the study described in the following section. 8.3 An empirical study 8.3.1 Data and hypotheses We analyzed the following sets of data, which were made available by our collaborative research within the SEDSU project. 2 video-recordings of an infant bonobo (Luiza, age 10 months) and chimpanzee (Lobo, age 19 months) collected by Mathias Osvath at MPI Leipzig, appr. 60 minutes each. Additionally, 2 video recordings of Luiza (at the age of 13 months) and the chimpanzee Kara (age 7 months), 8:30 minutes each, recorded by Josep Call and his assistants. 6 video-recordings from a Thai/Swedish video-linked corpus, involving three Swedish children (BEL, TEA and HAR) and 3 Thai children (JOM, JAM and CHE), when these children were app. 18 months old. 2 video-recording of 2 Swedish children aged 12 months: ALI (recorded by Mats Andrén, 15 minutes) and TEA (recorded by Ulla Richtoff, 23 minutes). As obvious from this description, with the exception of the 2 data points from TEA and the bonobo, the data was not longitudinal. However, given that the data was, in broad terms, cross-sectional, and the different PI levels are of increasing complexity, we could formulate three hypotheses to test whether these correspond to developmental and evolutionary stages. H1: PI episodes of Level 3 (Reciprocal PI) will be attested predominantly among the 18-month old children. H2: PI episodes of Level 2 (Coordinated PI) will be observed among the 18-month old children and the 12-month old children. H3: PI episodes of Level 1 (Synchronous PI) will be the only form of perceptual intersubjectivity found in the ape data – perhaps with occasional instances of Level 2. 8.3.2 Operationalization of the model The definitions of the different types and levels of PI presented in Section 2 were intended to be empirically attestable and applicable to both human and non-human subjects. However, in order to be able to use them as the basis for a coding scheme for the study it was necessary to specify them further. The general guiding principle was to be conservative, i.e. to have operational definitions which preferably under-interpret rather than over-interpret the observational data, especially the data from the 18-month old children. The reason for this is that these children have already made their entrance into language, and language can substitute for many other forms of intersubjective behavior, including mutual gaze and gesturing [7-8]. While being in essence a form of communicative referential behavior we decided explicitly not to code the children’s utterances as such, since that would have placed them on an uneven footing compared to the behavior of pre-linguistic children and apes. Furthermore, especially with the 12-months old children, it is not easy to distinguish verbalization from vocalization. Hence, in the


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operational definitions offered below, we treat vocalization as a form of attentiongetting (cf. Section 2) but not as any of the other crucial behaviors (attentionturning, attention-contact, communicative referential behavior). The first specification compared to the definitions of asymmetric PI in Section 2, is that we analyzed only cases in which the sender was the infant (human or ape) and the receiver was the interacting adult (parent or some other individual). Furthermore, as mentioned in the introduction, we intend the definitions given below only to apply to the asymmetric variety of PI, the main reason being that it was much easier to individuate the PI episodes for this type, rather than for symmetric type. The beginning of a new PI episode was marked by the introduction of a new target: an object, event, location or direction that received focal attention from one or both of the subjects. Therefore, a PI episode by definition includes one and only one target and the introduction of another target defines the end of the previous episode and the start of a new one. What operationally counts as a new target was based on visible behavioral contrasts in the interaction. New targets were judged to occur when: (1) There was a shift in the infant’s attention to a target that is altogether outside his earlier focus of attention. (2) There was a shift in the infant’s attention to a target which is more or less within the earlier focus of attention, but a visible shift of attention is observable in both the infant’s and the adult’s behavior, such as: a. An object is singled out in contrast to several possible others. Example: playing with building blocks; although both participants are already attending to the block-building in general, the infant focuses his attention on a specific block while picking it up and thereby introduces a new target. In addition to this, the adult also visibly redirects her attention to this specific object. b. A part of an object is singled out in contrast to the object as a whole. Example: playing with a toy telephone; although the toy telephone is already the focus of the infant’s attention, the infant shifts his attention to a specific part of the telephone such as the mouthpiece. In addition to this, the adult also visibly redirects her attention to this specific part of the telephone. c. An object is moved and in this process its new location constitutes a new target of attention. Example: the infant is holding a glass of milk and the glass is within his focus of attention; but then the infant puts it down outside the current visual field of the adult who then needs to shift attention to this new location. Since we were primarily interested in classifying the behavior of the infant, when new targets were altogether outside the focus of the infant’s previous attention (case 1) it was not of crucial importance whether the target was within the visual field of the adult as long as the infant cannot see this. However, in cases (2a), (2b) and (2c) it was of crucial importance whether there was also a slight adjustment in the attention of the adult. Otherwise it was impossible to establish that these more subtle kind of new targets really are established as common to both parties. Since it was not possible to distinguish the infant’s attention to the target from attention-turning when the target was the adult herself, these targets/episodes were

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excluded from analysis. In other words, the analysis deals with triadic and not dyadic engagements. Finally, we concentrated on visual attention, thus reducing attention to “gaze”. In the case of Level 3 (RPI) we requested that the infant and adult engage in mutual attention (gaze) – within the infant’s turn, i.e. prior to the adult verbally commenting on the target. Given these qualifications, we could operationally define the different levels of asymmetric PI as shown in Table 1.
Level 1 Term Synchronous PI

Operational definition


Coordinated PI - simple



Coordinated PI - complex



Reciprocal PI


Table 1. Operational definitions of the levels of perceptual intersubjectivity used for the empirical study

8.3.3. Analysis and results All PI episodes were identified in the data according to the criteria outlined above. Coding was performed by the first and third author, and in case of uncertainty, the second author was consulted as well: until consensus between the three authors was reached. Unclear examples were excluded. This resulted in a total of 190 PI episodes, divided by the different video-recordings (‘data points’) as shown in Table 2. The results strongly suggest that asymmetric PI seems to be a human speciality – not in the sense that it is unique for our species, but that it is much more frequent in human infant-adult interactions, and consequently typical for human beings. In approximately 2 hours and 18 minutes of data, the apes engaged in only 5 asymmetric PI episodes. In contrast, the 2 hours and 8 minutes of human data contained a total of 185 instances.


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Data point Kara (chimp) Lobo (chimp) Luiza (bonobo) Luiza (bonobo) TEA (Swedish) ALI (Swedish) TEA (Swedish) HAR (Swedish) BEL (Swedish) JAM (Thai) JOM (Thai) CHE (Thai)

Age (months) 7 19 10 13 12 12 18 18 18 18 18 18

Length (minutes) # PI episodes 8:30 60 60 8:30 23 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 2 1 1 1 26 24 26 18 33 11 23 24

Table 2. Total number of PI episodes per data point

Furthermore, the three hypotheses (Section 3.1) where almost surprisingly well confirmed, as shown in Figure 8. RPI (Level 3) episodes were not limited to the interactions of the 18-month old children, but they were proportionally more frequent than for the two 12-month olds. CPI episodes (Level 2) occurred in the data of both groups of children, but where altogether absent (along with RPI episodes) in the ape data. All 5 instances of asymmetric PI episodes initiated by the infant apes were cases of SPI (Level 1), thereby confirming hypothesis 3.
L1 L2 L3

100 80 60


L2 L3

L2 L1 L3


40 20 0 L2 L3

Apes 7-19 months 12 months

18 months

Figure 8. Percentages of asymmetric PI episodes by level (1, 2 and 3) in the three sets of data. Total number of episodes: 5 for apes, 50 for 12-month old children, and 135 for 18-month old children

8.3.4. Discussion The results of the study supported our hypothesis that the different levels of PI in our model, at least of the asymmetric variety, correspond to developmental and evolutionary stages. The three ape infants studied (in the four data points) and their

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interacting adults engaged in a surprisingly low number of PI episodes, and all of these were of the simplest type, Level 1 (SPI), which did not involve intentional communication. Even for the adult, this type does not imply more complex processes than attentional contagion.3 Of course, this does not exclude the possibility of higher-level processing. The complete absence of any complex type of PI episodes in the ape data, irrespective of the differences in the ages of the ape infants (7-19 months) supports the analysis of SPI as being qualitatively different from the higher-level types, and indicates a corresponding difference between Pan and Homo. At the same time, we need not interpret this as a matter of inability of apes to engage in more complex types of intersubjectvity, since we know from previous research that in captivity (adult) apes do engage in intentional communication with human subjects [19]. Nevertheless, the differences were so conspicuous, that we believe that they reflect a qualitative difference in the nature of ape and human social interactions: human infants (and young children) engage in communicative referential behavior on a regular basis, while ape infants do not. Furthermore, since the differences between the pre-verbal and “just-verbal” children were relatively minor (as reflected in the minor differences in CPI (Level 2) in Figure 8 for the two groups) this seems to be a feature of human social interactions that is independent of and more basic than language. In terms of the Mimesis Hierarchy (MH) model [14-15] this difference can be interpreted as due to differences in dyadic and – especially – triadic bodily mimesis.

1 0,8 0,6 0,4 0,2 0 TEA12 Age TEA18

L1 L2.1 L2.2 L3

Figure 9. Number of PI episodes per minute for TEA at 12 and 18 months.

This conclusion is also supported by the only piece of direct human developmental evidence in our data: While SPI (Level 1) episodes predominate over all the others for the child TEA at 12 months, occurring roughly once a minute in the interaction, they decrease to 0,4 per minute at 18 months, while CPI (Level 2) episodes rapidly increase (Figure 9). The results concerning our first hypothesis (H1) regarding RPI episodes dominating in the 18-month old group, the results were less clear cut. Indeed, there was a higher proportion of RPI episodes in that group, but the 12-months old
3 Attentional contagion appears to be supported by a specialised neural mechanism [20]. The attention system immediately reacts to the perceivable re-orientation of the body, head, or gaze, or all of these, of other subjects, and will cause the receiver of the signal to turn her attention unless the behaviour is inhibited. Thus, attentional contagion can be said to occur on a “subpersonal” processing level, i.e., a level that cannot be accessed by conscious awareness.

It is characteristic that this data point (of 23 minutes) did not include a single case of true pointing (though a few cases of reaching).1 L3 L2.1) in the older group. One could say that the attention of the other is part of the common ground [21].1 and Level 2. As Figure 10 shows. since language was not allowed to be coded as “communicative referential behavior”. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity group had only 2 children. child and guest sitting on the floor and repeatedly naming different toys and pictures – it is hardly surprising that the child does not check to see if the adult is paying attention. since /dæ/ can be argued to be communicatively referential not merely because of the corresponding deictic pronoun. were not treated as such. but because it is formed by a protrusion of the tongue which is analogous to pointing.1 L2. this is a topic that needs to be further investigated. e. We may have been too conservative in this case.1. Also the distinction between “simple” and “complex” CPI on the basis of the presence of attention-turning (towards the adult) in the latter. % 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 L1 L2. seemed questionable. e. and has been argued by some to be even a developmental precursor to it [22]. While it was part of our methodology to be conservative. it seemed in quite a few cases that we were forced to under-interpret the children’s behavior. as pointed out. Thus a number of /dæ/ utterances by TEA at 12 months which did appear to be communicative (and approximating the neuter deictic pronoun in Swedish). it was not clear (to the child) that the adult was paying attention. but not the former. Zlatev et al. CHE pointing to a cartoon figure in a book and saying “Woodie!”). and in a way. and there was considerable individual variation between the children in both groups. But if one takes the whole situational context into account – the parent.2 12 months L3 L1 L2. Since there was no attention-turning to the adult. and thus the corresponding PI episodes were coded as Level 1 rather Level 2. Indeed.1 L2. the child can take it for granted that the adult is paying attention – given the lack of any evidence to the contrary. our particular coding scheme and data does not support treating Level 2. Thus in sum. .130 J.2 as developmentally distinct.g.2 18 L1 L2. since the interaction conforms to a pattern of many similar ones. Clearly. a silence on the part of the adult. it seemed that the children directed their attention to the adults when for some reason. Percentages of different levels (and sub-levels) of PI episodes for the 12-month and 18month human children On many occasions the older children pointed to a target and verbalized (sometimes even using the appropriate term in referring to an object. the episode was coded as an instance of Level 2.2 L3 Figure 10.g. there was a higher proportion of simple CPI (Level 2.

which we took to be qualitative. The downside of this is that our model somewhat underestimates the role of language. . The results showed conspicuous differences between the two species (Pan and Homo sapiens). and therefore as a possible contribution to the ultimate goal of understanding human cognitive specificity. but to be able to code the interactions as unambiguously as possible. The three hypotheses formulated prior to any data analysis were confirmed. building on and further developing our previous research. corresponding to a possible sequence of stages of development. though it should be pointed out that the definitions of the levels. as well as the capacity for sharing a ‘common ground’ without overt indications of this. and human beings divided in two age groups (12 and 18 month-old children). The model resulted in a coding scheme of operational definitions. in order not to privilege the verbal children against the pre-verbal ones and the apes. We view this as an achievement in a field which is rife with debate on “rich” versus “lean” interpretations of the underlying capacities. distinguished by the child’s progressive understanding of the attentional state of the interacting adult. which was applied to infant-adult interactions in great apes (two chimpanzees and one bobobo). Still. Zlatev et al. Nevertheless. In sum. the foremost contribution of this chapter to the theme of “enacting intersubjectivity” consists of the systematic specification of levels of perceptual intersubjectivity in terms of observable behaviors for the purpose of analyzing social interaction. and can therefore be regarded as a useful conceptual and theoretical tool for conducting further analyses. with each successive level including additional behaviors on the part of the sender and matching responses from the receiver. thereby connecting the “individual” and the “social” dimensions. we showed how these levels can be given a developmental interpretation. This forced us to exclude the children’s utterances as a form of communicative referential behavior. The upside is that we managed to define the different levels in terms of observable behaviors. We concentrated on the asymmetric type and showed how the three levels formed a complexity hierarchy. changes to the definitions were by no means introduced in order to offer post hoc support for our hypotheses. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity 131 8. At the same time. can be said to have passed the test of empirical assessment. especially the operational ones in Section 3.J. In conclusion. Interpreting the sender as the infant initiating the PI episode. since we concentrated on the visual modality (audio data from the apes was in practice unavailable) we need to take the results of our study with some precaution. our model of perceptual intersubjectivity. the results offered support to our developmental (and to some extent evolutionary) interpretation of the different levels of PI.4 Conclusions In this chapter we have offered a model of perceptual intersubjectivity (PI) in terms of two types (symmetric and asymmetric) and three levels (synchronous. coordinated and reciprocal). were further specified after preliminary analysis of the data.

[3] T. Cangelosi. 1999. Stages in the Evolution and Development of Sign Use (SEDSU). Clark.9 (2). Attention and the evolution of intentional communication. / Stages in the Development of Perceptual Intersubjectivity 8. The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity. Mass. Zlatev. D. 1979. 2005. In J. The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition. Lottbek : Verlag an der Lottbek. Animal Behaviour. Klin & F. [14] J. [16] P. Bråten. From protomimesis to language: evidence from primatology and social neuroscience. follow gaze direction and use social cues in an object choice task. 1992. Persson & P. Honderich. 2001. [7] G. [19] D. (pp.A.). supported by the EU FP6 program under the call “What it means to be human”. 1989. 2005. Pragmatics & Cognition. Amsterdam/Philadelphia : Benjamins. Itkonen. 213-223). Pointing: Where Language.). 1996. Journal of Comparative Psychology. Child Development. The role of intersubjectivity for the development of intentional communication. [18] J. Zlatev. Joint attention. The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference (EVOLANG6). M. Cognition and Communication in Infancy. in press. 2003. [2] J.132 J. Bates. A. [10] I. New York : Academic Press. 2007. [9] I. NJ : Laurence Erlbaum. T. Journal of Consciousness Studies. (Eds. 484-501. Lund : Lund University Cognitive Studies. Smith (Eds. [13] J. J. Studies on the Way of Words. J. Zlatev. Tomasello. 3-13. Tomasello. . Volkmar.). Brinck. The Emergence of Symbols. Mahwah. 69. Chawarska. Brinck & P. [15] J. Cambridge. [17] E. Domestic goats. Amsterdam : Benjamins. The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity. 1999. 2006. Zlatev & SEDSU-Project. LUCS 121. Cognitive Science Quarterly. Butterworth. 58 (2). 429-446. 8. New Jersey: World Scientific. and to the collaborative project Stages in the Evolution and Development of Sign Use (SEDSU). Smith & K. Grice. [8] M. Amsterdam/Philadelphia : Benjamins. 255-272. A. Harvard : Harvard University Press. 18 (5). 253-296. triangulation and radical interpretation: A problem and its solution. Carpa hircus. [22] S. Brinck. [11] I. Zlatev et al.5 Acknowledgements We wish to express our gratitude to Ulla Richtoff. et al. C. A. [21] H. [20] K. 11-18. Gärdenfors. Study of the Occurrence and Functions of “da” in a Very Young Bilingual Child. [12] I. The whole hand point: The structure and function of pointing from a comparative perspective. The pragmatics of imperative and declarative pointing. Sinha & E. [6] J. Gärdenfors. Mind & Language. On Being Moved: From Mirror Neurons to Empathy. Automatic attention cuing through eye movement in 2-year old children with autism. Culture and Cognition Meet. Evolution of Communication. 4 (2). 2004. Bodily Mimesis as the "Missing Link" in Human Cognitive Evolution. (pp. 113 (4). Kaminski. 13 (7-8). In S. Dialectica.6 References [1] J. Radical externalism. Amsterdam : Benjamins. 3/4. 74 (4). Meaning = Life + (Culture): An outline of a biocultural theory of meaning. 179-205. Leavens & W. T. 2003. 2003.379-388). 2004. Hopkins. Using Language. : Harvard University Press. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. Meaning. [5] I. D. in press. 1108-1122. The co-evolution of intersubjectivty and bodily mimesis. Zlatev. Kita (Ed. Journal of Physiology. 417-425. Paris. Brinck. Williams. for providing the framework and resources necessary for conducting this research. in press. in press. 2003. The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity. Racine. et al. [4] S. Co-operation and communication in apes and humans. Brinck. Tiedel. 2006. In Jordan Zlatev. Zlatev. Zlatev. Call & M. Pointing is the royal road to language for babies. Mathias Osvath and Josep Call for supplying us with parts of the data. In A.

.........4 9.............................. Human newborns demonstrate a readiness to mirror facial expressions and gestures......... 134 On infants having learned by altercentric participation to feed their feeder .................................... and both infants and adults frequently manifest their participant mirroring of what their companions are doing – to be illustrated and explained in this chapter.................) IOS Press. 141 On the neurosocial support by a mirror system decentred in phylogeny ..............................6 9.. The above and other illustrations of participant perception are specified in terms of the inborn capacity for other-centred participation................................................... All rights reserved............ Sometimes they concurrently co-enact what the companion is doing as if they were virtual co-authors of the companion’s doing.................................................................... Illustrations will be offered of infants who reciprocate feeding or even spoon-feeding before their first year’s birthday..8 Introduction to layers of intersubjective attunement and enactment in ontogeny .... This facilitates the ontogenetic path to speech in the culture into which the infant is born and will be shown to open a window to altruism in young children...... Sometimes they imitate or re-enact what they have seen being done...........................7 9..............................................................2 9.... 2008 © 2008 The authors.......... for example when spectators at a sports arena lift their legs as the high-jumper is about to jump.................................... exemplified by some three-year old orphans......... 139 From bodily simulation of others’ acts to simulation of conversation partners’mind ....................... Contents 9....................................................................................................................3 9.............................................................Enacting Intersubjectivity F...................... thus demonstrating their learning by imitative reenactment by virtue of participant perception of their feeders’ acts of feeding................. 133 9 Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation Supported by a Mirror System in Infant and Adult Stein BRATEN Abstract... (Eds..... 145 ................... 134 On newborns’ imitation and protoconversation in the first weeks and months .. Morganti et al..1 9......... 145 References......... 135 How altercentric participation opens a window to altruism in young children ....... and indicated to be supported by a mirror neurons system adapted in hominin phylogeny to subserve learning to cope and take care by (m)other-centred participation.................. or when the spoon-feeder opens own mouth as the spoon is pushed into the opening mouth of the patient.......5 9.... 142 Summary and conclusions ....................... The ontogenetic path from primary to tertiary intersubjective enactment is specified to go by way of embodied simulation to verbal conversation with its reciprocal and participant characteristics by virtue of simulation of mind........ and sometimes they pre-enact slightly in advance what the companion is about to do or say as if coming to the companion’s virtual aid........................

Thus. we are able to distinguish different layers of intersubjective attunement in early human development arising from the foundations of infant intersubjectivity which Trevarthen was the first to define in the 1970's [3].2] in the object-oriented movements of one another. revealing the capacity for intersubjective attunement from birth.1 Introduction to layers of intersubjective attunement and enactment in ontogeny Recent infancy research findings. which continue to be operational and supportive throughout life. This begins between 6 and 9 months of age with co-operative use of objects of joint emotional referencing and imitative learning from altercentric participation in object-handling movements. based on empirical findings during the last four decades. Such steps adhere to these layers of intersubjective attunement. 9. and which throws new light upon imitative re-enactment and learning in infancy as well as upon steps from embodied simulation of actions to simulation of mind. probably from the beginning of life. entailing predication and a sense of verbal or narrative self [2] and other in first-order modes of symbolic communication (from about 18 . have replaced earlier theoretical views of infants as a-social and ego-centric with a new understanding of infant capacity for interpersonal communion and learning by other-centred participation [1].7] in conversational and narrative speech. I shall now go into some details about some of the operating characteristics pertaining to the various layers. This is documented by .24 months).” [2. p. In his new introduction to the paperback edition of The Interpersonal World of the Infant. (III) Tertiary intersubjective understanding [6.2 On newborns’ imitation and protoconversation in the first weeks and months Already in the first weeks of life human infants have been found to be capable of mutual subject-subject attunement in an immediate sense.10]. Today. and for simulation of conversation partners’ minds [9. with the first operative from birth and continuing throughout life to support the higher-order layers: (I) Primary intersubjective attunement [3. xx]. a major point here is that such higher-order achievements are supported by capacities and competencies unfolding in the low-order layers. even in fictional others [8]. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 9.4] in a reciprocal subject-subject format of protoconversation and interpersonal communion exhibited in the first weeks and months of life announces the kind of mutual mirroring and turn-taking which we find also in mature verbal conversation (II) Secondary intersubjective attunement [5] in a triangular subject-subject-object format involving shared attention and altercentric participation [1. infants have the capacity for what Braten (1998) terms alterocentric participation or what Trevarthen has long called primary intersubjectivity. Daniel Stern declares that recent evidences “suggest that. Second-order understanding of others’ minds and emotion (theory or simulation of mind from 3 to 6 years) opens for perspective-taking and emotional absorption. inviting circular reenactment: learning by imitation to manipulate objects and to reciprocate caregivers’ acts.134 S.

for example. 9. matching his facial gestures. some people in the audience unwittingly reveal by their own wide mouth opening their virtual participation in what the newborn is trying to do [13].1 When eleven-month-olds reciprocate their caregivers’(spoon)feeding Add another month or two and even more complex feats of learning by imitating re-enactment can occur. I have photo records of how some in the audience open their own mouth.3. 6 to 8 weeks olds have been found to engage in proto-conversation with their mothers. emitting a sound or a light [14]. And when I return to the speaker’s platform and point out what some of them had done. For example.3 On infants having learned by altercentric participation to feed their feeder In the middle or second half part of the first year objects of shared attention come into focus. This entail a triangular subject-subject-object format involving shared attention and participation in the object-oriented movements of the model. 9. pushing a button on a box. a video clip of a 25 minutes old girl exposed to his wide mouth opening preparing to imitate him. Being acutely aware of what the little girl is trying to prepare for. when the nine-month-old in Meltzoff’s deferred imitation experiment take after what the experimenter did the previous day. I can then explain how their unwitting pre. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 135 film and video records and analyses. exhibiting finely tuned inter-coordination of movements and mirroring of expressions entailing the kind of turn-taking and rhythmic synchrony which we may recognize in verbal conversation partners later in ontogeny [11]. and head rotation. This is pre-enactment or co-enactment. finger movements. such as tongue protrusion. when allowed to take the spoon in his own hand. they unwittingly open their mouth before she manages to do so. and vocal (vowel) productions. Most dramatic is perhaps the video documentations in 1983 by Kugiumutzakis [12] of how neonates in the first hour after birth attempt to come up with a semblant response. and with it the possibility of re-enactment of object manipulation demonstrated by the caregiver. This is not imitative re-enactment on the part of the audience. gestural features used to express surprise.and co-enactment came about by their other-centred participation as if being a virtual co-author of the newborn’s impressive feat of re-enactment.and photo-documented that for instance a baby boy (3/4 month). In 1996 was video. When I show Kugiumutzakis’ video record on the screen to an audience. delight and boredom.as if to help her to achieve this tremendous feat. for example.2. laughter breaks out and they become conscious of their own preor co-enactment. such as tongue protrusion or a wide mouth opening. 9. because people in the audience open the mouth slightly in advance or concurrently with the little girl’s opening her mouth -. When they watch this newborn girl preparing for coming up with a wide mouth opening movement resembling what Kugiumutzakis just had been doing with his mouth.1 How an audience reacts when watching a video of newborns’ imitatation In the first weeks after birth infants have been documented by experimental studies to imitate a variety of gestures.S. . brow motions.

2 Definition of altercentric participation Regard the mouth of the infant feeders in Figure 1 (top and middle illustrations). These are instances of what I have identified and termed ‘altercentric participation’ [1. but actually having virtually partaken in the caregiver’s spoon-feeding from the caregiver’s stance.the very reverse of what is seen from an outside. when you are not just watching the other about to perform something. p. What you see revealed here. Notice how they are opening their own mouth as their companions open the mouth to receive the food offered. we may add. As the very reverse of perception of facing other subjects from an ego-centric perspective. emotional contagion. 9. just like what occurs when the caregiver unwittingly opens his or her mouth when the baby opens the mouth to receive the food. Stern sees such other-centred participation as “the basic intersubjective capacity that makes imitation. This entails altercentric participation.17]. 16] (cf. This is sometimes unwittingly manifested overtly. you will tend to show by your own accompanying muscle movements your virtual participation in the other’s effort as if you were a co-author of the other’s doing. like what you yourself may unwittingly exhibit when feeding a child or a patient. for example. or when opening one’s own mouth when putting a morsel into another’s mouth (and differs from perspective-taking mediated by conceptual representations of others). is taking a virtual part in the patient’s intake of the food. but wishing for the other to succeed in whatever he or she is doing.242]. and even opened his own mouth in the process [15. . left) tightens her lips as her big sister’s mouth closes on the morsel. other-centered participation entails the empathic capacity to identify with the other in a virtual participant manner that evokes co-enactment or shared experience as if being in the other’s bodily centre. or virtually helping the other to grasp by mouth the food offered. When infants reciprocate in this manner they demonstrate that while having been previously spoon-fed they have not just participated by receiving and eating the food. empathy. when lifting one’s leg when watching a high jumper. Fig. In order for infants to be able reciprocate the spoon-feeding they must have been able to virtually partake in their caregivers’ previous spoon-feeding activity as if they were co-authors of the feeding.3. and notice how the Yanomami girl (middle. egocentric stance in such face-to-face situations. Their circular re-enactment of what they have experienced as recipients of spoon-feeding show that the infants must have been able to participate in the feeder’s movements from the feeder’s stance -. and identification possible”[18. Thus I define altercentric participation as ego’s virtual participation in Alter’s act as if ego were a virtual co-author of the act or being virtually hand-guided from Alter’s stance. 1 (middle right)).136 S. And what is more. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation could reciprocate his big sister’s spoon-feeding. as if participating in the other’s eating from the other’s stance. even though their caregivers have been the actual authors of the feeding.

when being subjected to spoon-feeding. as if sharing the bodily centre of the other’s muscular activity. when the patient prepares to mouth grasp the afforded food.g. but rather in an e-motive and participatory sense of more primitive subjective experience in felt immediacy.S. the infant may be virtually co-enacting the spoon-feeding as if being a virtual co-author of the feeding. the appendix on p. In this manner they show that they are taking a virtual part in what the other is trying to do. what Stern [18] terms vitality contours. . 135 in Bråten (ed. So. the infant re-enact the spoon-feeding previously experienced. the infant is pre-enacting the caregiver’s intake of the afforded food (cf. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 137 Adam Smith [19] had noticed how spectators watching a French line dancer would sometimes wriggle and move their own bodies as if helping the dancer to keep the balance as he walked on the slack line.or co-enactment. This will be turned to later. and pre-enactment When the feeder opens own mouth while in the process of feeding the patient this is not imitation in the sense of re-enactment. evoking temporal feeling flow patterns. co-enactment. is to exhibit by their muscle activation pre-movements and co-movements (termed MitBewegungen by Eibl-Eibesfeldt [20]).3 On intersubjective re-enactment. or what the members of the audience did when watching the video of what the newborn girl was trying to do. He saw this as a manifestation of what he termed ‘sympathy’ (which is not a bad term when considering the Greek roots of ‘sym’ for joint and ‘pathos’ for feelings. Learning by imitative re-enactment can hardly be accounted for in terms of perspective-taking in a social-cognitive sense. Such participant perception of the other’s move entails altercentricity -. Secondly. such as in Meltzoff’s (1995) behavioral re-enactment design in which 18-month-olds successfully realizes a novel target act from watching the experimenter failing to pull a dumbbell apart [22]. or what the feeder often unwittingly does. e. 9. passion. when taking after the feeder by reciprocating spoon-feeding. such as opening the mouth and then tightening the lips.) [21]). but rather an anticipating or concurrent move in the sense of pre. what the spectators were unwittingly doing. The same applies to the oneand-half year old who is capable of “reading of intention”. imagination of unrealized or incomplete efforts inviting simulated completion.3. Various modes of virtual intersubjective enactment may thus be seen to differ in terms of the temporal relations of the observed act and the enactment – occurring after the observed act as occurred (inviting re-enactment).the very reverse of egocentricity. or suffering). occurring concurrently with the observed act (inviting co-enactment) or even anticipating the act to be observed (inviting anticipatory pre-enactment). that are shared by the model and the infant learner. Thirdly. All three modes may be successively be evoked in the infant learning to reciprocate spoon-feeding: Firstly. if the infant opens own mouth as he or she is offering the spoonful to the caregiver’s mouth.

5]). Edwards 1997). In both cases there occurs discharge of the same pre-motoric cells (which later aptly were termed ‘mirror neurons’) (Drawing adapted from video presentation by Rizzolatti at a conference in Delmenhorst June 2000 [24]). (Middle right) Norwegian boy (11 3/4 months) reciprocating his sister’s spoon feeding (Based on photos by Bråten [15]). p. in which the macaque first sees the experimenter grasping a morsel. The drawings in this figure have been made by the author and used in his textbook in Norwegian [23. 21. (Bottom) Macaque (with electrodes attached to pre-motoric cells in the brain) in an experimental situation at the Institute of Human Physiology. p. This will be turned to later in the chapter. University of Parma. 10.138 S. (Top) From a day-care centre in Italy (drawing after photo recording by C:P. and then grasps the morsel on its own.122.41] for which he has copyright of figures (See also his drawings of the keynote experiment on mirror neurons in three pertinent collective volumes [17. p. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation Figure 1 Feeding situations and food grasping inviting participant mirroring [23]. (Middle left) Yanomami-girl feeding her big sister (based on photo by Eibl-Eibesfeldt [20]).281. p. .

Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 139 9. inviting circular re-enactment from e-motional memory of such care-giving if and when others in need or distress reactivate in the child feelings semblant of the form . True. 1 (middle right)). as I would specify it. he had learnt to (take delight) in spoon-feeding others in return. that he kept to himself.of having virtually moved with Alter’s movements leaving Ego with a characteristic vitality contour and implicit memory of the virtual coenactment which may be evoked for re-enactment in similar situations.S. I mean here the affective remembrance -. then this would per definition entail altruism. if situational and motoric resources permit. Such an impressive early feat of cultural learning entails that nature has been at play: an innate capacity for imitative learning even of care-giving. 9. the infant gets recurrent opportunities to not just be subjected to care but to feel to be virtually co-enacting such care-giving. there is a natural proclivity in the child to feel concern and sometimes attempt to help the patient. however. other-centered participation entails the empathic capacity to identify with the other in a virtual participant manner that evokes co-enactment or shared experience as if being in the other’s bodily centre. should be re-defined to be seen at the reciprocal activities entailed in virtue of the infant’s taking a virtual part in what the caregiver does.4 How altercentric participation opens a window to altruism in young children As the very reverse of perception of facing subjects from an ego-centric perspective. This may invite in children a general proclivity towards prosocial and even altruistic behaviour. then. and which now permits specifications in terms of other-centred participation: (ii) Care-giving situations. Such learning entail a kind of procedural memory or. no more sharing. In an environment affording care. but only until the sweet desert. By “e-motional memory”. and thereby learns from alter-centric participation in that very care-giving. that certainly did not apply. perhaps even at own expense. then. If helping occurs at own expense. Here is the proposition: (i) By virtue of the innate capacity for other-centered participation in the patient’s distress or felt need as if experiencing that from the patient’s center. In the case of the Norwegian boy (Fig.1 Circular re-enactment of care-giving from e-motional memory From previously being spoon-fed by his caregivers.which is not conceptual and may not be conscious -. an emotional memory. he reciprocated his sister’s spoon-feeding.4. The composite term “e-motional” combines the folk sense of being ‘moved by’ and the root sense ‘out-of-motion’. and to do so before his first birthday. and only if those infants would have preferred to reserve the food afforded for themselves. which may appear to be unilateral activities. Does this apply to the previous examples of infants feeding other? Not quite.

by the part it plays in learning from caregivers who have left the child with an e-motional or participatory memory of care-giving. and thereby activating circular re-enactment of care-giving offered to them. the innate capacity for participant perception may also give rise to empathy and affordance of care in a more immediate sense even in the absence of model learning. was they way they behaved towards one another at mealtimes: handing food to the companion was more important than having food oneself.” [28.4. . Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation of bodily self-feelings evoked in situations in which the infant has experienced care-giving. This fits with studies revealing how the quality of the care-giving background appears to play a role in children’s reaction towards others in need: Those from a nurturing and caring background are most likely to help and offer comfort to other children in need or distress [26. in spite of having been deprived of caregiving nurture. 27]. (iii) The kind of caretaking frequently experienced by the infant in virtue of altercentric participation provides a basis for circular re-enactment of that kind of caretaking towards other children in need or distress. Anna Freud reports about three-year old orphans rescued from Nazi death camps during the second world war who.175] Their content and commenting behaviour suggests their taking delight in his eating.140 S.2 Cases of altruism exhibited by orphans rescued from horrible circumstances Thus. However. Ruth [3 years 7 months] and Miriam [3 years 3 months] offer him what is left of their portions. Altercentric participation is at play in a twofold way here: first. afford one another care [28]probably by virtue of the inborn capacity for participant perception triggering empathic identification. 9. and hence activating circular re-enactment of care. occurring in one month after their arrival in October: “John [3 years 11 months] cries when there is no cake left for a second helping for him. While John eats their pieces of cake. sensitive caretaking frequently experienced by the infant in the reciprocal mode of felt immediacy may come to provide a basis for circular re-enactment of semblant kinds of caretaking towards other children in need or distress. they pet him and comment contently on what they have given him. by the way in which altercentric participation may be elicited by others in need or distress. in view of their gruesome and depriving backgrounds. Their empathic identification is indicative of other-centred participation which probably gave rise to their altruistic act. Then others in need or distress may invite caring efforts resembling the caring afforded by others earlier in infancy from e-motional memory (or what Fogel terms participative memory [25]) of having virtually participated in that caregiving. Here is one example. second. p. Perhaps most impressive.

First will be considered the behavioural reenactment cases of 18-month olds who demonstrate that they can realize the unrealized target from merely watching someone aiming for the target. p. and which may be specified in terms of altercentric participation: From having virtually participated in the model’s effort. there is circular re-enactment by the child.S. evoking simulated completion of the attempted act. Both cases will be accounted for in terms of simulation circuits evoked by altercentric participation. usually with a triumphant smile. we both reply in the positive to the question whether there is a path in child development from bodily to mental simulation. i. 9. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 141 9. But there is more involved.e. Vittorio Gallese.5. successfully realizing the target act [17]. that rather than constructing a theory of others’ minds from which children’s understanding of others’ understanding is derived. He is an early advocate of the simulation of version of theory of mind. The alternative conceptions allows us to specify an ontogenetic path from objectoriented secondary intersubjectivity entailing embodied simulation of objectoriented acts to tertiary intersubjectivity opening windows to simulation of conversation partners’ mind.e. Goldman supports this account [29]. that lends support to the simulation version of theory of mind [30] as opposed to the theory construction version which assumes that the child constructs a theory of the other’s mind. As I put it: It appears to be a path of learning by imitation entailing virtual (other) participation. there a mirroring mechanism in operation which resembles and probably supports processes also in verbal conversation. Then will be turned to conversation partners’ simulation of mind. When handed the dumbbell.2 Listener’s altercentric perception and interlocutors’ simulation of one another’s act In an interview with Gallese and myself on the mirror neuron systems implications for intersubjectivity and social cognition [31]. paralleling the conversational efficiency demonstrated in verbal dialogues later in ontogeny. 9. In the above case of realizing an unrealized attempted target act.5 From bodily simulation of others’ acts to simulation of conversation partners’ mind We shall now turn to the path from embodied simulation of movements or attempted moves to mental simulation of other minds. . when such matching muscular activity accompanies mirror neuron systems activation in the observer. i. Here is demonstrated the child’s capacity to “read the model’s intention” [22].1 When an 18-month-old realizes the model’s failure to pull a dumbbell apart In Meltzoff’s behavioral reenactment design 18-month-olds are face-to-face with the experimenter who fails to pull the dumbbell apart. In a joint paper with one of the mirror neurons discoverers. deriving its understanding of the other’s understanding from that construct.5. the child pulls it apart.100]. Goldman makes the point that when the same muscular activity is activated in an observer as the activity utilized by the observed. children simulate the other’s (mis)understanding processes in more direct sense. other-centred participation in the sense of being a virtual co-author of what the model or patient is doing [31.

infant or adult --. ‘go’ and ‘take’. For example. Rall and Harris find that when 3and 4-year-olds are asked to retell fairytales. at odds with their perspective-taking. much as the toddler does in the above behavioural reenactment design. their recall is more accurate for verbs. by virtue of altercentric participation in the partner’s executed speech act and understanding. Analogue to the spoon-feeding situation: when mouth movements of the feeder -. they parallel to a certain . put forward in the early 1970's [9. simulating what the other is about to say as if you were a virtual co-author enabled by an altercentric mechanism. when conversation partners complete one another’s aborted statements.6 On the neurosocial support by a mirror system decentred in phylogeny When verbal conversation partners show by the overt behaviour that they simulate one another’s complementary processes. and with co-narrative fictional constructions with peers. coenacting one another’s complementary acts and sometimes completing one another’s utterances by virtue of simulating the production. For example. While the children have trouble when the verbs in the stories told are used from the reverse perspective. 30]. such as ‘come’ and ‘bring’. such sentence completion may be accounted for in terms of a cybernetic model of simulation in conversation partners.beginning with discovery of deceit and attribution of false beliefs. when you find yourself more or less unwittingly completing what your conversation partner is about to say. correlating with their verbal and conversational ability and entailing second-order understanding of others’ thoughts and emotions. you overtly manifest your participant perception of the other’s speech act.142 S. they manage the best recall when the verbs in the stories listened to are consistent with the stance of the protagonist with whom they identify. children manifest meta-understanding of other’s understanding entailing second-order mental understanding of thoughts and emotions in self and other in virtue of recursive mental simulation of mental processes in others -. supported by an other-centred mirror system decentred in phylogeny to subserve preverbal and verbal conversational efficiency. completing the utterance of the speaker. 9.reflect the corresponding mouth movements of the one being fed we may see a parallel here also to the virtual participation exhibited by partners in verbal conversation. as it were [32]. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation From about 3 to 6 years of age. This pertains to the qualitative leap to children’s simulation of mind. and without hesitation you supply the words. in an Oxford study. As I phrase it today in terms of altercentric participation. inviting their altercentric participation in ‘Cinderella’s slippers’. and enabling the child that is listening to a story to take the point-of-view of the main character or protagonist. such as about Cinderella. 10] -. It seems reasonable to assume that a mirror system for matching or simulating others’ acts may afford a precursory and nurturing path to simulation of other minds [6. if used spatially consistent with the point-ofview of the main protagonist.the first model to articulate the simulation version of theory-of-mind approaches in psychology and philosophy. You may be listening to a conversational partner who is in the process of making a verbal utterance who before the utterance is completed. appears to hesitate or to be at loss for the right words.

] to gather plant foods [. 36] shows that such a system exists also in humans. and which would presuppose the operational subservience of such a mirror system. 35] (such as illustrated in Fig. 33. 93-97] . Further experimental evidence [33. Richard Leakey attributes such body slings to Homo erectus in this scenario: "[w]e see a small human group. they are athletic in stature. 36. 39].. This is consistent with what is portrayed in Bråten’s conversation model of how the listener takes a part in the speaker’s production process [9. naked apart from an animal skin thrown around the shoulders that serves the dual role of baby carriers and.S.2 Questions about evolution One pertinent question concerning the phylogenesis of learning by other-centred participation is this: At what critical period in the hominid evolution would infant learning by altercentric participation have afforded a distinct selective advantage? Or to put the question otherwise. Mirror neurons were first found in macaque monkeys to discharge both when the macaque observes the experimenter grasping a piece of food and when the monkey is grasping the piece by itself [33. five adult females and a cluster of infants and youths. 38. they would have had to depend on face-to-face modes of communion and on cultural learning by virtually moving with observed models. 1 (bottom)). inviting a tentative reply: Deprived as they were by their parents’ bipedalism of the body-clinging advantage enjoyed by young offspring of apes.1 The discovery of mirror neurons Parts of the neurophysiological support of such feats have now been revealed by the discovery of a mirror system in the human brain [24. 35. 34 35]. later. internally generated enactment in the observer of that enactment. would have had a selective advantage in both contributing to and drawing upon an emerging protolanguage cultural environment. for example by infants’ altercentric participation in their caregivers’ enactment as if they had been hand-guided from the caregivers’ stance and were a co-author of the care-giving. Three of the females are now ready to leave. food bag. Identifying such a mirror neurons system enabling observed enactment to be matched to semblant... Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 143 extent lower-order processes already exhibited earlier in ontogeny. 34.. Rizzolatti and Arbib [33] refer to a Liberman’s motor theory of speech perception [37] implying a close link between the production and perception of speech.” [40. some the discussion of today's plans [. Mother-infant pairs capable of protoconversation and joint visual attention. They are chattering loudly. and strong. 9. pp.]. 9. some of their exchanges obvious social repartees. affording some clues to the evolution of language [33.6. and in particular before the invention of baby-carrying slings. how could hominid offspring learn to cope and take care from the distant gesticulations and articulations of an instructing mother? The reply I have offered is this: In order to compensate for the loss of the protective and instructive back-riding mode of actually moving with their mother’s body. in the brain region that contains Broca’s area (which not only serves speech.6. 10]. but appears to come active during execution and imagery of hand movement and tasks involving hand-mental rotation).

a mirror neurons system may have been adapted in hominin infants to subserve the kind of (m)other-centered mirroring we now see manifested by human infants even in face-to-face situations which actually entails mirror reversal when reenactment occurs. would have had a selective advantage and a contributing impact [38. and controlling the behaviours of physically distant offspring who did not have the possibility of clinging to the mother’s body. . p. then. when the model is raising his arms. Falk’s hominin mother-infant model presupposes an emerging infant capacity to perceive and learn to cope and take care from a distance [39]. shifting from other-centred participant perception of what the model is doing. she claims. children with autism who understand and comply with the invitation ‘Do as I do’ have problems in face-to-face situations probably due to a defective mirror system. may compare the inside of the model’s hands with own hands and.532] and before the invention of baby slings. assuming that this attribution of chattering. 17. is warranted. prior to the invention of such baby slings. to own body-centred frame of orientation required for own execution of the imitative re-enactment [10. understand. Unlike back-riding offspring of other primates. 39]. as well as baby slings. hominid offspring incapable of back-riding could have been faced with extinction were they not able to learn face-to-face and from a distance to cope and take care. Thus. to carry of a perceptual mirror reversal. in no need to de-center own body-centered perspective. reassuring. and learn by (m)other-centred participation from the gestures and vocalizations afforded by the vigilantly attending mothers. and in her response to commentaries Falk stresses the significance of my hominin infant decentration hypothesis “because it specifies how mirror neurons could have been of major importance during the period of evolution when hominin infants lost the ability to ride clinging to their mothers’ backs” [41. mothers using prosodic and gestural markings and attended vigorously to their offspring would be strongly selected for [41]. As I have pointed out in a commentary. I have proposed this ‘hominin infant decentration hypothesis’: Compensating for the loss of the body-clinging advantage that enables offspring of other primates to perceive and learn without having to transcend own body-centered perspective shared with the carrying mother. While ordinary children in virtue of altercentric perception can do what the other is doing when seen face-toface.6. those hominin offspring able to learn to cope and take care by (m)other-centered perception of distal vocalizing and gestural articulation. the subject with autism. 43]. then it is likely that earlier in hominid evolution. as if experienced from the model’s centre. incapable of altercentric mirroring. For example. A necessary condition may have been an emerging infant capacity to perceive. raise his own hands with the palms inwards [4.3 Defective mirror system in autism Such phylogenetic adaptation of the mirror neurons system by way of decentration enables the modern human infant who is watching and imitating performing others face-to-face.144 S. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation Now. 9. Dean Falk has hypothesized that hominin mother would have had to adopt new foraging strategies that entailed maternal silencing. 42]. Thus. In her article on pre-linguistic evolution in early hominins.

Stamenov & V. Gesture. Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language. found difficult by subjects with autism. Hubley. Imitative re-enactment in such face-to-face situations actually requires a mirror reversal on the part of the infant learner. Bråten (Ed. 327-336). and Symbol. 321-347). Trevarthen. Bråten. Secondary intersubjectivity.M. The concept and foundations of infant intersubjectivity. 1998. 1998b. Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. Co.).7]. In D. Examples have been given of different modes of intersubjective enactment in the format. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [9] S. 44]. Bullowa (Ed. On Being Moved: From mirror neurons to empathy. 2002. [3] C. London: Academic Press. (pp. 1998.xi-xxxix). The Interpersonal World of the Infant (pp. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. In Proceedings of the 7th International Congress on Cybernetics 1973. Action. 273-294). S.) IntersubjectiveCommunication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. Bråten. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 145 9. Trevarthen. New York: Cambridge University Press. [7] S.). Stern. [2] D. In A. Fictional Absorption: Emotional response to make-believe. and re-enactment when the differences of time between the observed (model) act and participant enactment are taken into account. [5] C. 1978. of preenactment. 105-124).N. as distinguished by infancy research findings in the last four decades [17. Namur: Association Internationale de Cybernetique.). co-enactment. From infant intersubjectivity and participant movements to simulation and conversation in a cultural common sense. Bråten (Ed.8 References [1] S. In S. (pp. (pp. (pp. [10] S. Trevarthen. Bråten. In S. Bråten (Ed.7 Summary and Conclusions In this chapter intersubjective enactment in the anticipatory. concurrent and imitative senses have been distinguished and illustrated with reference to layers of intersubjective attunement in ontogeny [6. Trevarthen & P. Bråten (Ed. & C. to engage in othercentred participant perception of what the model is doing. Stern.183-229).. (pp. 1974. Harris. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Intersubjective communion and understanding: development and perturbation. and then shift to own body-centred execution of the imitative re-enactment. 1979. 9. It affords the innate foundations of the impressive feats of infant re-enactment in early ontogeny as succinctly described in this chapter and as documented inter alia by the seminal findings presented in three recent collective source volumes [17. 272-382). Bråten. as if experienced from the model’s centre. [6] S. Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. (pp. respectively. In S. 21. (pp. Altercentric perception by infants and adults in dialogue: Ego’s virtual participation in Alter’s complementary act. 336-353). New York: Basic Books 2000 / London: Karnac. Bråten. 15-46). Co. Bråten (Ed. 2003.S.N. 1998.). In S.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.). [4] C.). Infant learning by altercentric participation. the neurosocial support by an altercentric mirror system that must have been decentred in phylogeny has been indicated. With reference to the mirror neurons discovery. Introduction to the paperback edition. Lock (Ed. . Before Speech. Coding Simulation Circuits during Symbolic Interaction. i. [8] P. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 21-33). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. 2007. Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. 21] and with a focus on infant learning by altercentric participation in what the model is doing in face-to-face situations as if being a virtual co-author of the model’s doing [1. Gallese (Eds. Communication and cooperation in early infancy: A description of primary intersubjectivity. (pp. (pp. In S. In M. In M..e. 2].

1989. (pp. New York: International Universities Press. (pp. Moore. 1993. 261-276.). Clues on the origin of language: From electrophysiological data on mirror neurons and motor representations. Oslo: Abstrakt Forlag. 188-193. Rall & P. Infant intersubjectivity: broading the dialogue to include imitation.N.K. 1988. 73-87). 493-501. [33] G. Bråten. On Being Moved: From mirror neurons to empathy. [30] V. Bråten. [23] S. Co. 2004. Rieber (Eds. Participant perception of others’ acts. Liberman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2004. 127-168.Bremner & A. Meltzoff & M. Berk.F. MA: The MIT Press. (pp.. 3rd ed.. Goldman. Child Development. 1951. Stern. Aronson & R. [24] G.. On mirror neurons systems implications for social cognition and intersubjectivity. 319-330. The mirror system in humans. 58 (3). [18] D. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation [11] M. 1-32.).). L. [36] L. Impuls.). [15] S.). (pp. In M. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. 2000. 50.). Virtual otherness in infants and adults. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1973. 2007. Mirror neurons and intersubjectivity. In M. Bråten (Ed. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ Co. 21 (5). 217-225. 2007. Bråten. June 2000. Gallese (Eds. Dann). Co. Bråten (Ed. Gallese (Eds. 97107. The Theory of Moral Sentiments.) On Being Moved: From mirror neurons to empathy. [26] L. 47-62). Culture & Psychology. 111-135). [19] A. (pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (pp. 1998. A. 1997. Gallese. Rizzolatti. Rizzolatti & M. 6. Smith.. Hurley & N. In S. mind-reading. In S. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. Fogassi & V. . Westlye & T. 101-110). In Cinderella’s Slippers: Story Comprehension from the Protagonist’s Point of View. Weinholdt). M. Perspectives on imitation: From neuroscience to social science. On Being Moved: From mirror neurons to empathy. 79-93). [13] S. 1996. 37-59). 2 (pp. Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language. [12] G. 2004. [25] A. [17] S. Zahn-Waxler. 2007. Child Development. 2007. Mother-infant exchanges. In S. Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. Gallese & A. Developmental Psycholinguistics and Communication. Stamenov & V. In S. Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind-reading. 2003. 113.). [16] S. [37] A. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child.) Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language. 1998. and simulations. Arbib. 1979. [27] C. [32] J. [20] I. Centre for Advanced Study Newsletter no. In S. Shater (Eds. Bråten. [31] S. Neonatal imitation in the intersubjective companion space. Trends in Cognitive Neuroscience. reprinted in The Writings of Anna Freud. 1975.W. King. Bråten (Ed. Freud (with S. Co.). Altercentric infants and adults: On the origins and manifestations of participant perception of others’ acts and utterances. 9 (3). [34] P. Fogel. (2005) Imitation. Haskin Laboratories Status Report on Speech Research. In S.C. N. Ferrari & V. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. 4. Radke-Yarrow & R. Seehamer Verlag. 36. 2. Language within our grasp. Trends in Neurosciences. 204-230). Child rearding and children’s prosocial initiations towards victims in distress. Cambridge. 2007. The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998. An Experiment in Group Upbringing. Eibl-Eibesfeldt. Bråten (Ed. Bråten & V. Goldman. Fadiga. [22] A. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.T. Graighero & L. 2005. Dialogens speil i barnets og språkets utvikling. Slater (Eds. Gallese. Harris. 1998. 2007. Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. 63-88). 2 (12). Presented at the Delmenhorst conference on mirror neurons. N. 1970. Bråten (Ed. C. New York: New York Academy of Sciences. 202-208. Infant imiation and memory: nine-month-olds in immediate and deferred tests. Die Biologie des menschlichen Verhaltens. Cambridge: Blackwell.146 S. [21] S. Bateson. [14] A. [29] A. Fadiga & L. Child Development. 59. (pp. On Being Moved: From mirror neurons to empathy. New York: Norton. (pp. Meltzoff. Bråten (Ed. In G.M. Remembering Infancy: Accessing our Earliest Experiences. Developmental Psychology. 6th ed. the epigenesis of conversational interaction. 2002. 13-35). (pp. (pp. [28] A. In D. identity and intention. Theories of Infant Development. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ Co. Craighero. Stamenov & V. 163-229). Bråten (Ed.2 (November).).E. Infants demonstrate that care-giving is reciprocal. 1998. 110113). [35] L. The neural correlates of action understanding in non-human primates. Kugiumutzakis. 1976.). Gallese (Interviewed by the Impuls editors L.

Stamenov & V.). [39] S. Co. [41] D.. Behavioral and Brain Science.. Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny. Bråten.. London: Phoenix 1995. Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language. (pp. 27 (4). 2004. pp.).). Bråten (Ed. Hominin Infant Decentration Hypothesis: Mirror neuron system adapted to subserve mother-centred participation. Mirror neurons and the neural basis for learning by imitation: Computational modeling. 2002. Imitation and the reading of other minds. B. Prelinguistic evolution in early hominins: Whence motherese? (incl. Author’s response to commentaries. Bretzinger & K. Subjekte und Gesellschaft. Co. 291-541. Wenzel. (pp. [40] R.). The Origin of Humankind. 139-169). Billard & M. Behavioral and Brain Science. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. Falk. Stamenov & V. [43] A.S. 260-282). Holz (Eds. (pp. 508-509. 139169). Whiten & J. In U. 243-351). . Gallese (Eds. J. 27 (4). Braten / Intersubjective Enactment by Virtue of Altercentric Participation 147 [38] S. In S. 2002. Brown. 2004. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bråten. Leakey. Beteiligte Spiegelung. [42] A. Arbib. Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft 2003. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publ. Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language. [44] M. Gallese (Eds. In M. Alterzentrische Lernprozesse in der Kleinkindentwicklung under der Evolution. Commentary. 1998.

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150 On the primacy of the body........... and reafferent signals such as proprioception..7 10................ objects or complex patterns of motor behaviour............................. 149 10 The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments Manos TSAKIRIS Abstract...................... may function as a unifying element that structures a coherent representation of the bodily self.................................. 153 A working example: self-recognition studies. 161 Acknowledgments.................................................. Private signals refer to centrally generated action representations such as intentions.............. motor commands)....... 161 ............. such as the shared properties of actions. In the present chapter.............. Recent neuroscientific studies of self-awareness have focused on how the self compares to representations of other people.................................. we put forward the hypothesis that the experience and representation of one’s own body may underpin the distinction between the self and other agents...... such as visual and auditory signals that may refer to bodies........... Social cognitive neuroscience tends to emphasize the shared properties of self and others across several dimensions..Enacting Intersubjectivity F....... and on the ability to represent how the external world would appear from other viewpoints.......................................................2 10......... efferent signals (e... 2008 © 2008 The authors..................................) IOS Press. 156 Towards an implicit measure of self-recognition? ................ we propose that the experience of one’s actions........................ 161 References................... on the ability to represent and attribute mental states............... Contents 10........................................ In every inter-action.............................................................. (Eds..3 10.. bodies and sensations.. rather than the asymmetries between self and other......... Public signals originate from observable sensory events...... 150 On motor and sensory signals .8 10............ How are these signals used to disambiguate the identity of bodies and the origin of actions? By focusing on recent experiments on self-recognition........... 160 Conclusions.. 152 Who is the agent? ......................................................4 10........... All rights reserved...5 10.......... there are both private and public states and signals represented in the brain of the agent and the observer........................ 151 From signals to the experience of one’s own body .............................................. as distinct from the other agents. Morganti et al........6 10.......10 Introduction.............. both re-afferent and ex-afferent.........g....... which depends largely on the processing of efferent information.............. efference copy................1 10....9 10........

in the same way that I have to look for a pen or a piece of paper. and on the ability to represent how the external world would appear from other viewpoints [3]. As such. §38. what we would call the “self-other” distinction. 10. The fact that the body is perceived from within guarantees an immediate first-personal mode of presentation of bodily experiences.1 Introduction With the advent of social cognitive neuroscience. 242]. the self will be treated as the minimal sense of owning a body and the actions originating from that body [5]. rather than the asymmetries between self and other. such as the shared properties of actions. I do not need to look for my hand.90]. but a permanence on my part. has not been fully addressed. because the body is an “object” that normally never leaves me. bodies and sensations (for a review see [4]). Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 10. one’s own body is the only “object” in the world that can be freely moved according to one’s own will. Does this permanent presence make the body special? MerleauPonty wrote: “[…] It is particularly true that an object is an object in so far it can be moved away from me. we experience “the feeling of the same old body always there” [7. This minimal self is a physical entity “which exists in a physical world and has physical effects via its physicality” [6. which can be perceived from different perspectives or even cease to be perceived. interoception).152]. pp. 50]. The simple fact that we are capable of action with and sensation .150 M. The fact that the body is always present suggests that body-awareness is not like any other form of objectawareness. precisely because no one else can feel my hand moving in the same way I feel it moving from the inside. However. on the ability to represent and attribute own and other people’s mental states [2]. p.g. that demonstrate the existence of an intimate link between the body and the self. the question of how the self can be distinguished from other people. p. proprioception. The body is also a unique perceptual entity by virtue of the versatile ways in which it is perceived.g. “[…] Body is an organ of the will. Most studies tend to emphasize the shared properties of self and others across several dimensions. Now the permanence of my own body is entirely different in kind […] Its permanence is not a permanence in the world. is moveable immediately and spontaneously and is a means for producing a mediate spontaneous movements in other things […]” [9.” [8. In the present chapter. Its presence is such that it entails a possible absence. and ultimately disappear from my field of vision. […]. Proprioceptive sense is often conceptualized as the sense of the self par excellence. contrary to the perception of an object. For example. we put forward the hypothesis that the experience and representation of one’s own body may underpin the distinction between the self and other agents. the one and only Object which. More importantly. recent studies of self-awareness have focused on how the self compares to representations of other people [1]. the minimal self is predominantly an embodied acting self. When I decide to write something. vision). p.2 On the primacy of the body There are several unique components in the experience of one’s own body. For our purposes. Bodies are perceived from the outside (e. but my body is also perceived from the inside (e.

Similarly. This information can be used for perceptual compensation. In addition.13].M.e. a channel of meaningful communication between the self and the world. A preliminary approach to this question can be given by investigating the physiological signals that are used to constitute the bodily self. The concept of efference copy was first described as an “effort of will” by Helmholtz [11]. and its position in space that every relation between the self and the world is made possible. and at the same time we experience ourselves. In the 20th century. both the effectors that materialize our intended actions and the sensory organs that provide our perceptual experiences of the world are the constitutive elements of the lived body. and the peripheral sensory (or afferent signals). 10. non- . the body is an ‘intentional arc’ between the agent and the world [8]. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 151 in our bodies is sufficient to distinguish the relation we have with our bodies from our relations with other objects [10]. the retinal image of this object is again displaced. and the world through the same body. the idea of an “effort of will” was the answer to Helmholtz’s question regarding our visual experience of the world.3 On motor and sensory signals Two main kinds of physiological signals are used to inform the representation of one’s body: the centrally generated motor (or efferent) signals. and we understand the world through the interpretation of sensory signals. The critical question is how the CNS distinguishes between a sensation that is due to the activity of the organism itself from movement that is due to external activity. but we perceive a moving object. Helmholtz’s idea was further developed into the concept of an efference copy. self vs. In fact. Helmholtz initially suggested that whenever we make eye movements. the bodily self can be thought of as a “perspectival” source from where all actions emanate and to where all experiences are returned [6]. Both action and perception are made possible through central motor signals and peripheral sensory signals that are ever present. Whenever a motor command is issued in the motor cortex. and can help identify the source of the movement (i. A key concept in the motor control literature is that of an efference copy. the “effort of will”. the body imposes a point of view of the world [8]. At the experiential level. In short. As agents. a copy of this command is generated in parallel [12. Efferent signals are the centrally-generated signals that control every voluntary movement. Almost all human activity involves voluntary movements and sensory experiences. the retinal image of a perceived object is displaced. we act upon the world with our body. Having established this intimate relation between the body and the self. because it is thanks to the presence of the body. and possibly distinguish it from other bodies. in the case where we keep our eyes still. When we move our eyes. that is the voluntary effort to produce the eye movement provides critical predictive information about the sensory outcome of the eye movement that will follow. It is the mere fact of embodiment that defines a certain “point de vue” for the embodied self. In that sense. We communicate our intentions to the world through the motor signals that are conveyed into voluntary bodily movements. it then becomes an empirical question to characterize the functional properties of the bodily self.

On the other hand.126]. 18] distinguish between two aspects of bodily self consciousness: the sense of agency and sense of ownership.152 M. an efference copy is thought to be generated whenever a motor command that precedes a self-generated movement is issued. the self is experienced as the source of the experience of the acting. p. the meaning of afferent signals for perception and behaviour is ambiguous. a sense of oneself as an actor or a sense that one’s actions are one’s own [6]. In fact. and it is not restricted only to the operation of the occulomotor system. Taken together. the sensory feedback originating from the eye movement itself).e. because proprioceptive information unambiguously pertains to the self [16]. This prediction is thought to take place in the internal models of the motor system [14]. because that would imply that the agent can be separated from the action. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments self). the afferent peripheral signals seem to support an ecological self-awareness [15]. Thus. However. Von Holst and Mittelstaedt suggested that during voluntary eye movements. and especially proprioception.e. and may give rise to distinct forms of body-awareness. re-afferent). in the sense that they provide information about the body and the world within which the body is situated. provides us with the phenomenal content of our bodily self-awareness.e. This stance implicitly . In agency. precisely because the afferent signals can be either self. However. suggesting that the relationship between the self and the action is not simply causal. 10. More recently. It has been suggested that afference. an efference copy can be used by visual or motor areas of the brain to predict the sensory outcome of the descending motor command. the idea of an efference copy has been generalised to the operation of the motor system.4 From physiological signals to the experience of one’s own body Sense of agency is the sense of intending and executing an action [5]. we have a general awareness of our bodily actions that involves both components. According to Gibson each act of perception contains both propriospecific information about the self (i. afferent signals are the sensory peripheral signals that can be either the effect of self-generated stimulation (re-afferent) or of externallygenerated stimulation (ex-afferent). like the other side of the coin…. Instead. 17. as well as exterospecific information about the distal environment (i. ex-afferent): “Egoreception accompanies exteroception. In the case of a self-generated action. intentions and efferent information can predict the consequent multisensory signals produced by one’s own movement. since information about one’s body cannot be perceived in isolation from the environment. Recent theories of motor control have shown how an interaction between the efference copy and sensory inflow may reduce this ambiguity. We do not normally experience the efferent and afferent components separately.One perceives the environment and coperceives oneself” [15. and therefore anticipate the self-generated stimulation (i.or externally-generated. the efferent and the afferent signals may support different functions. This efference copy can then be used by the internal predictive models of the motor system in order to generate accurate predictions about one’s own actions [14]. recent neuroscientific and phenomenological approaches to selfhood [10.

vision of touch and touch). To give an example. These common activations reflect “shared” representations of actions and bodies that are agent-neutral. Public signals originate from observable sensory events. at least not under normal circumstances [6]. However. 10. but they have also raised important methodological and epistemological questions.and actionrepresentations were raised with the discovery of the mirror neurons in the macaque brain. only voluntary actions. as well as the experience and observation of sensory events. This feeling is a fundamental element of the phenomenal experience of my body. An important phenomenological observation is that the sense of body-ownership is present not only during voluntary actions.M. On the other hand. activate overlapping neural networks [4]. Recent studies (for a review see [19]) have provided valuable insights on how we experience and represent our bodies in body-ownership and agency. Following these operational definitions. by identifying the moving hand as mine. should produce a sense of agency.g. It is therefore important to ask what is it exactly that the sense of agency adds to the sense of ownership. Moreover. but also when an externally-generated somatic sensation is experienced by me (e. the sense of body-ownership is present when I move voluntarily. if someone else moves my hand. In contrast.g. when I voluntarily move my hand.g. and also when my body is at rest.g. The feeling that the body I inhabit is mine and always with me is called bodyownership. either self. both re-afferent and ex- . I do not have a sense of agency over the hand movement. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 153 suggests that awareness of action cannot be separated from agency. I have a sense of agency by identifying my intention to move as the source of the movement. and re-afferent signals such as proprioception. and a sense of ownership. and more importantly how can agency be used to address the self-other distinction. or actions that are experienced as voluntary. ownership refers to the sense that “I” am the experiencing subject. yet I retain a sense of ownership of the moving hand as being mine. as provided by the proprioceptive sense). The properties of mirror neurons suggest that both self-generated and observed actions. and it is my body the one that experiences a certain sensation.or externallygenerated [5. the sense of agency involves a strong efferent component. because the content of body-awareness originates mostly from the plurality of multisensory peripheral signals. arguing against a special representation of one’s own body. In every inter-action. passive movement). by the body schematic control of movement. The raw basis of body-ownership may be provided by the epistemologically private experience that I have of my body from within (e. the sense of body-ownership involves a strong afferent component. Private signals refer to centrally generated action representations such as intentions. but also during externally.or passively generated experiences. there are both private and public states and signals represented in the brain of the agent and/or the observer. and by multisensory integration of body-related sensory signals (e.19]. because actions are centrally generated. Thus. efference copy. my body is the site where the sensory experience takes place. motor commands).5 Who is the agent? Several questions regarding the nature of self-specific body. efferent signals (e.

Similarly. When the bias was set to the right (e. at 15°). When tracing a line on the tablet. A theoretical implication of this study is that there seems to be a two-level coding of action-related information [23]. With regards to the issue of agency.g. such as the efference copy. the motor command. Thus. perceived events (i. such as the observable effects of the action (see also [24]). according to the common coding theory. agency). A critical issue in this debate relates to the question of the conscious experience of agency. Similarly. whereas the 1st level represents the “private” aspects. both own and other’s people actions are coded in a common way (see the common coding theory [25. However. it became evident that they were unaware of the corrections they produced during the experimental trials [21]. and managed to trace lines that appeared to be sagittal. the generated representations attempt to detect the intended goal. objects or complex patterns of motor behaviour. in action perception.e. It is not clear which signal(s) or state variable(s) of the motor system give rise to the conscious experience of agency. the subjects could see through the mirror a red line appearing on the computer screen in exact coincidence with the displacements of the tip of the stylus on the tablet. Therefore. perceptions) and to-be-produced events (i. The basic hypothesis of the ideomotor approach is that actions are coded in terms of the perceptual events resulting from them. allowing thus a clear-cut . This un-awareness of the actual motor commands was nicely demonstrated by Fourneret and Jeannerod [21] in a replication of the ingenious experiment by Nielsen on volition [22].e.154 M. Subjects were able to correct for the introduced bias. actions) are commonly represented by an integrated network of cognitive structures called event-codes (for a review see [25. The 2nd level coding of action-related information represents the “public” aspects of action. a line traced in the sagittal direction on the tablet appeared to the subject to deviate to the right at an identical angle. According to Georgieff and Jeannerod [23]. Participants were asked to draw lines in a sagittal direction on a digital tablet using a stylus. the actual movement is governed by a representation of the goal of the action. and therefore they are not the ones used for conscious judgments of actions. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments afferent.26]). which could be agent-neutral. and the sensory feedback. The public view of action-representations is based on the ideomotor theory put forward by James [7]. The output of the graphic tablet was processed by the computer using a simple algorithm for adding a linear directional bias. these signals are not made available to consciousness. How are these signals used to disambiguate the identity of bodies and the origin of actions? The predictive function of the motor system and the resulting anticipation of sensory inflow have been well documented in the literature across different experimental paradigms [14]. the link between the operation of the internal models of the motor system and the conscious awareness of action is still debated [20]. when asked after each trial to either report verbally their movement or to reproduce it. The 2nd level becomes especially important when we adopt a public view of action.e. such as visual and auditory signals that may refer to bodies. However.26]). in action generation. Accumulating evidence suggests that we are not aware of the actual motor commands or motor parameters of our actions [20]. The 1st level codes the sensory and motor signals that are used for the control and monitoring of movements. there are neither quantitative nor qualitative differences in the generation and processing of these common representations that would enable the a priori attribution of the source of the action (i.

even intentions seem to be agent-neutral: “It could be the case either that intentions […] are impersonal representations or that.149].and other-actions. p. leading to more accurate predictions. and . The necessity of the “who system” is justified by the fact that several kinds of action representations are independent of the agent who is performing them. These common activations “share” representations of actions that are agent neutral [30]. according to the common coding theory. in an experiment on action prediction. the matching process between first-person perspective (i. Thus. nor the translation of the intention into an efference copy and a motor command suffice for the experience of agency. Within this framework. The authorship effect reported by Knoblich and Flach could be accounted by the fact that the motor system that perceived the action during the prediction task was the same motor system that generated the action. Neither the intention of the acting subject. The mental representation seems to follow the physical event it represents. Instead. agency of action is not intrinsically embedded in the generation of the action. The “who system” seems to be strongly committed to a representational model of agency and self-consciousness. who was the agent. for the “who system”. Thus. the agent parameter can be left unspecified” [31. Nevertheless. According to this public view of action-generation and perception. p. like any other event. Rather. throwing darts). both the physical action itself and its mental antecedents appear to be perceived after the fact.g. goal>. in other words. In the light of this evidence. Knoblich and Flach [27]. and thus. 28] have argued for the necessity of a specialized neural system that would discriminate between the self and the other. they acknowledge that one problem of the common coding theory is that “[…] first-person and third-person information cannot be distinguished on a common-coding level” [27.M. This line of argument implies that the sense of agency arises as a post-action reconstructive meta-representation. the default mode of operation seems to be “no agent”.or other-generated actions (e. agency of action is the result of an attribution process that takes place at the observational level of public aspects of action that happen after the action itself. although their form is <agent.e. It has been shown that both the representations of self-generated and observed actions activate overlapping neural networks [29]. producing the effect) and third-person perspective (i. that is. the “who did it?” question can be answered in computational terms only by disentangling the non-over-lapping areas that are active during self. and thus provide the sense of agency. observing the effect) was even more complete. we see no indication of privileged access to 1st person knowledge. 468]. According to the “shared representations” model. Jeannerod and colleagues [23. found an authorship effect in correctly predicting the outcome of self-generated actions.e. to knowledge referring to the mental preparation of the upcoming action and arising before the fact.139]. it remains unclear what could be the functional role of the first-person perceptive in action generation and perception: “In any case. The same could be true of the self-other distinction. the model ignores all the processes that precede the execution of intentional actions. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 155 distinction between self and other. where participants had to predict the outcome of either self. In this sense. The function of this “who system” is to answer the question “who made the action?”. action. and that this meta-representation would be necessary for efficient self-other distinction. but it is rather that of knowing who the agent is.” [25. p. the problem is no more that of being the agent.

and it is therefore experienced in an epistemologically immediate fashion. vision). and in addition the sense of agency has to be distinguished from a judgment of agency [33]. a 1st person perspective. However. It may be possible that the sense of agency is a phenomenological correlate of a neural or functional signatures that are unique to voluntary actions. 10. on the experiential level. 35]. while self-recognition appears to be a specific cognitive process typically involving conscious experience [36]. it is impossible to provide an ecological account of agency. Action-recognition may involve unconscious operation of internal predictive models of the motor system [34]. and afferent information that is externally imposed. for example by purely morphological features. Self-recognition. because they leave no room for a phenomenally or epistemologically special self.6 A working example: self-recognition A working example that may be used to elucidate this tension between private and public signals. and perception of one’s body. conscious agency could only be “the mind’s best trick” [32]. and provide some critical insights for the self-other distinction is the self-recognition of bodily movement. but may arise as an intrinsic property of action-execution or even action-generation processes (for a review see [19. Moreover.g. involves deciding whether a visual stimulus shows one’s own body or not. ownership of the intention to move. we often use voluntary movements as a means of selfrecognition. and action-attribution [19. efferent signals are present only when an action is self-generated.156 M. the sense of agency seems to presuppose a subjective point of view. In most studies of self-recognition. in the current context. the “shared representations” model and the “who system” raise an epistemological problem. Converging evidence suggests the sense of agency seems to be dependent upon the processing of efferent signals that precede the action itself. then the “who system” is needed in order to reconstruct the representation of an agentic self. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments instead focuses on the perception of action as an objective manifestation of “naked intentions” [31]. the sensory processing of reafferent events. between shared and self-specific representations. but also from within (e. proprioception). and that such signals intrinsically modulate the time-awareness of action. and thus. efference action. they could in principle code in an intrinsic way the origin of the action. If “shared representations” is the brain’s basic model.g. participants see a body- . Thus. self-recognition is also possible in the absence of any movement or action. the brain must distinguish between afferent information generated by our own movements. The acting body is perceived. agency is not embedded in the public aspects of action. By refuting the very possibility of an intrinsic link between intention. In effect. However. This fact by itself suggests a hierarchical relation between actionrecognition and self-recognition: voluntary action can aid self-recognition only if one can be sure that the viewed resulting body movements were caused by one’s own voluntary action. not only from the outside (e. perhaps illusory. Recent research on self-recognition distinguishes between two related computational problems: the problem of action recognition and the problem of self-recognition. 34]). On a strong view of the attributional perspective on agency. an “after the fact”. In action-recognition. and that such signatures may actually construct rather then reconstruct the conscious sense of agency. On this hypothesis.

. 2003 Normal Subjects Visual Feedback : 1. Summary of Self-recognition Studies Daprati et al. The information available to support this judgment is systematically varied across conditions. 1998 Normal Subjects Farrer et al. Rotation of HandLocation on screen (0º. for example by moving the hand [36. 2003 Normal Subjects Experimental Manipulation Visual Feedback Angular Bias Display of the line drawn by the subjects No Subjects automatically compensate for the introduced bias. but they are unaware of these corrections when bias<15º. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 157 part. GL was significantly more impaired.. Only a few studies have explicitly investigated the link between voluntary movement and action-recognition [40. which may or may not be related to their own body. Sirigu et al. no movement) Video Display of 2 hands (performing same / different / no movement) No For same movements. A summary of recent experiments on action. different.Own hand 2. by introducing delays between the movement and the visual feedback [38]. The task is to judge whether what they see is their own body or not.Own hand 2.Other’s Hand/different movement Video display of 1 hand No Schizophrenics were significantly impaired in condition 2 Van den Bos & Jeannerod.Other’s hand/different movement Video display of 1 hand No Parietal patients were significantly impaired in condition 2 MacDonald & Paus. 41]. -90º. Temporal Delays CyberGlove Manipulation of Efference Results Yes rTMS over left superior parietal lobule impaired the detection of asynchrony for active but not for passive movement. motor command and somatic perception in a short time-window. 2003b Normal Subjects & Deafferented Patient GL Angular Bias Computerreconstructed image of a hand Yes Normal subjects: differences between active and passive movement were significant only for bias >30º. Summary of Action-Recognition Studies Participants Fourneret & Jeannerod. Self-recognition requires the monitoring and integration of various sources of information such as intention.. while the specific contribution of efferent signals for self-recognition has been under-investigated (see Table 1). 90º.Other’s hand/same movement 3. 1999 Parietal Patients & Controls Visual Feedback: 1. 180º) 2.Movement (same. 37]. or by rotating the hand image [39].Other’s hand/same movement 3.and self-recognition . Visual Feedback Manipulation of Efference Results Table 1. selfrecognition performance was influenced by the rotation of the hand image.M. 1997 Participants Experimental Manipulation Schizophrenics & Controls Visual Feedback: 1.

that is.g. over and above multisensory integration. In these studies. In all these studies [36. Sirigu and colleagues [36. then the viewed hand would always be attributed to the self. in the same movement condition). and that afferent signals (i. provided that vision and . participants tended to misattribute the experimenter’s hand to themselves. or (b) the experimenter’s hand performing the same movement as the participant’s hand. the movements performed by the subjects were always self-generated. in the different movement condition). In other terms. which factor enabled normal participants to distinguish between self and other more efficiently? These studies cannot conclusively answer whether normal subjects integrated in a more efficient way afferent information alone (visual and proprioceptive feedback). and therefore the relative contributions of these two kinds of information for explicit self-recognition were not clarified.158 M. patients misattributed the viewed hand to themselves.g. Efferent information was not dissociated from proprioceptive information. without direct visual image of their hand. the paradigm of the rubber hand illusion [42. However. According to Jeannerod [30]. Consistent results from both experiments revealed that both patients and controls performed almost perfectly when they saw their own hand. both efferent and afferent information were present. that is.e. they said that they saw their own hand. or whether they used fine-grained efferent information for their self-recognition judgments. participants had both efferent and afferent signals available for comparison against the visual feedback. see also 39]. What can account for the enhanced performance of normal participants? In other words. whereas in fact they saw the experimenter’s hand. when they saw the experimenter’s hand performing the same movement as them. In this critical condition. both schizophrenics and parietal patients were significantly worse. or (c) the experimenter’s hand performing a different movement from the participant’s hand. these studies did not quantify the specific contribution of efferent information for self-recognition. Daprati. This suggests that the detection of a mismatch between visual and proprioceptive/efferent information is a relatively easy task. the performed movements were selfgenerated. Participants were asked to judge whether they saw their hand or not. and therefore across conditions.37] investigated the self-recognition of simple and complex gestures in schizophrenic and in parietal patients respectively. Participants were instructed to perform simple or complex self-generated movements (extension of one or two fingers). while none of the self-recognition studies presented above have examined the distinctive roles of efferent and afferent information. compared to controls. To that extent. Participants could see on a mirror in front of them (a) their own hand. using identical experimental designs. vision and proprioception) are used when action cues are ambiguous (e. Results showed a significant impairment in the self-recognition performance of schizophrenic and parietal patients when these groups saw someone else’s hand performing the same movement as they did. Moreover. In fact. 43] suggests that if only afferent information were present or used for self-recognition. 37. and when they saw the experimenter’s hand performing a different movement. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments The summary of studies presented in Table 1 shows that only two actionrecognition studies have dissociated efferent from afferent information. an integration of both public and private signals. one main conclusion of these studies is that ‘action cues’ are used when distinctive movements are made (e. even for patients who display impaired awareness of action [34].

In the former case.g. . they incorrectly attributed the viewed hand to themselves in 55% of the trials. In the case of a self-generated action. The specific contribution of efference to self-recognition can only be addressed by implementing a situation where visuo-proprioceptive information is kept congruent and maintained constant. it may be hypothesized that for highly reliable self–other discrimination. [44] investigated the specific role of efferent information for self-recognition. while efference is systematically manipulated. the same passive displacement was externally generated. across all trials. efferent information might provide an advantage in monitoring the timing of sensory events. incorrect attribution to self occurred in only 38% of the trials. In half of the trials. In such cases. and in the other half.e. proprioception) and public (e. because these were the same in both the self-generated and externally-generated conditions while participants were looking at their own hand. subjects experienced a passive displacement of their right index finger. Thus. Tsakiris et al. In fact. Self-recognition was significantly more accurate when subjects themselves were the authors of the action. even when subjects saw their own hand. The difference between these two conditions shows the specific role of efferent information in the accuracy of self-recognition. Participants judged whether the right hand they saw was theirs or not. efferent information was selectively manipulated because the right hand’s displacement could be effected either by the participant or by the experimenter. and in another block. In that experiment. Thus. This manipulation was implemented in a recent self-recognition experiment. unlike other self-recognition studies [36. than when the passive displacement was externally generated. The observed efferent advantage could occur for two reasons. viewing ‘‘self’’ and ‘‘other’’).. In one block. even though visual and proprioceptive information always specified the same posture. Therefore. or imposed externally by the experimenter (‘externally generated action’). either as an effect of moving their left hand (‘self-generated action’). Subjects experienced a passive extension of the right index finger via a lever. visuo-proprioceptive congruence may not be sufficient. This significant difference suggests that efference can also improve the comparison and integration of private (e. 37. subjects saw their own right hand. performance was significantly better when the passive displacement of the right index finger was self-generated across both viewing conditions (i. First. and also afferent information from the right hand itself. a dominance of vision which is based on the perception of public “states” would be the main cue for selfrecognition. efferent information clearly contributes to the ability to match proprioceptive and visual representations of a remote bodily effect.M. subjects saw someone else’s hand. 39]. Overall. vision) signals.g. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 159 proprioception were synchronised. The visual feedback was manipulated so that subjects saw either their own right hand (‘view own hand’ condition) or someone else’s right hand (‘view other’s hand condition) undergoing the same passive displacement of the right index finger. this passive displacement was self-generated. In the critical condition where participants saw someone else’s right hand and the displacement of their right hand was externally generated. When the passive displacement was self-generated and they saw someone else’s hand. they were significantly better at correctly recognizing it as their own when they produced the passive displacement themselves. and despite the fact that subjects judged the somatic effect of an action and not the action per se. participants had two kinds of information about the passive displacement of the right hand: efferent information from the left hand that caused the displacement of the right hand.

and the self-other distinction. Second. and that right temporo-parietal areas may underpin this basic computation. it may underpin a distinction between self and other. even when there is a perfect match between proprioception and vision. representation of observed actions. where an agentive effect was observed in recognizing and predicting actions that were performed by the participants themselves.160 M. not neutral. efference might modulate the on-line comparison between vision and proprioception by providing detailed temporal and kinematic information. 41].7 Towards an implicit self-recognition measure? A methodological confound present in almost all the self-recognition studies is the use of explicit measures of self-processing. A recent study [48] showed that the primary motor cortex forms an agent-specific. and not only for motor control. whereas observing one’s own actions tends to suppress the excitation of the motor system [48]. Further studies should investigate whether this lowlevel sensorimotor representation might underpin a form of pre-reflective selfconsciousness and whether and how it may be used to build up a conscious sense of agency and a sense of self. and can therefore be used to distinguish between the self and others. when compared to actions performed by other agents (for a review. Observing another agent acting facilitates the observer’s motor system [49]. This novel finding implies that the motor system may be sensitive to representations of other agents as qualitatively different from the self. and as such. 10. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments forward models of the motor system use the efferent information so as to generate a prediction about the anticipated sensory feedback [14]. Participants in self-recognition studies are asked to explicitly recognize the identity of a moving hand they see on a screen in front of them which could be theirs or not. This is consistent with recent experiments on action recognition and prediction. and integrating these signals in posterior parietal areas [37. in the sense of correctly recognizing a visual object or event as ‘‘me’’ or ‘‘mine’’ seems to depend largely on efference and agency. efference does provide a significant advantage for their integration. It has been suggested [46] that a basic computational mechanism that implements this function may also underpin higher cognitive abilities such as perspective taking and mental states attribution. Self-recognition. see [45]). The results suggest that afferent-driven body-awareness alone may not be sufficient for reliable explicit self-recognition. The distinctive role of efference in self-recognition suggests that central efferent signals have a highly predictive power allowing the correct detection of appropriate afferent signals that pertain to one’s self. The experience that participants have during these tasks does not do justice to the actual experience (or even representation) that one has about one’s own body. . as distinct from other agents. because we rarely represent explicitly and reflectively our sense of embodied selfhood [47]. Similarly. This finding also suggests that efferent information is important for selfrecognition. providing thus an important addition to the “self-other equality” of the mirror system.

for our sense of who we are and for our successful interaction with other agents.M. L. K. 1995. 10. Models of selfawareness that over-emphasize the shared self-other representations ignore the mere fact that my body is not so much an object of perception. Science and culture: Popular and philosophical essays. M. [2] R. see and move our body.This effect of efference is not surprising since our main way of being-in-the-world is to voluntarily act on it. Annual Review of Neuroscience. P. 2000. Second Book : Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution. MA: MIT Press. Merleau-Ponty. The role of the temporo-parietal junction in "theory of mind". trans. 268-77. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 161 10. Meeting of minds: the medial frontal cortex and social cognition. Eilan (Eds. 16(5). [11] H. 1962.9 Acknowledgments Bial Foundation Research Grant 165/06 to MT. Neural correlates of first-person perspective as one constituent of human self-consciousness. NY : Routledge. Marcel. Perhaps. The mirror-neuron system. 1981. rather than passively perceiving it. [9] E. Frith. Philosophical concepts of the self: implications for cognitive sciences. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4. D. and have no doubt that it is our own. M. 7(4). The Phenomenology of Perception (C Smith. Amodio & C.). London: Harvard University Press. In this sense. [10] J. 27. 14-21. 10.). Vogeley. Oxford University Press. Neuroimage. Agency and Self-Awareness.8 Conclusions We constantly feel. Helmholtz. Ritzl. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. This model would process efferent and afferent signals to inform and update representations of the body and structure its experience. Roessler and N. bodily selfawareness is not simply another form of object consciousness. J. this self-model would be a prerequisite for higher cognitive abilities. Fink. Husserl (R Rojcewicz & A Schuwer trans. 2003. Bermúdez. Gallagher. 169-192. 1995. & L. 2006. The sense of agency: awareness and ownership of actions and intentions. The Principles of Psychology. but rather it is given to me as a subject. The sense of body-ownership and the sense of agency may underpin a minimal model of the self as distinct from other agents.). In: J. Saxe & N. The Body and the Self.10 References [1] D. Craighero. James. such as perspective taking and action understanding. Cambridge. A. Marcel & N. [6] A. and actions generated by one’s own body are characterized by a sense of agency. Correct demarcation of the physical body’s boundaries seems to be essential for goal-directed action. People thinking about thinking people. 1835-42. Kanwisher. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.). . It has been proposed that the experience of one’s body and related sensory events are characterized by a sense of body-ownership. Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. 2003. [5] S. Dordrecht : Kluwer Academic Publishers. A. 1890. Chigaco: University of Chicago Press. Falkai. 1952/989. Eilan (Eds. Converging evidence suggests that the sense of agency is efferent-driven. [7] W. [8] M. 43]. Cambridge. 817-27. and that agency actually structures the experience of one’s body. [4] G. [3] K. whereas the contents of body-ownership are predominantly afferent in their origins [19.London. Rizzolatti. R. 19. 2004. 2004. May. Zilles & G.

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2003. 2005. Tsakiris / The Self-Other Distinction: Insights from Self-Recognition Experiments 163 [43] M. L. [46] J. Sirigu. Tsakiris. 31. Current Biology.1830-4. Franck. 2007. 2608-11. 8091. N.M. Consciousness and Cognition. N. B. The role of the right temporoparietal junction in social interaction: How low-level computational processes contribute to meta-cognition. Philosophical Psychology. anonymous agency. Cognition. Fogassi. A specific role for efferent information in self-recognition. and coordination. Journal of Neurophysiology. Action identity: evidence from self-recognition. 20 (4) 457-478. [45] G. P. Decety & C. G. [48] S. Aglioti & P. 96. prediction. 12(4). 73. Haggard. Mainy & A.620-32. 1997 . The Rubber Hand Illusion Revisited: Visuotactile Integration and SelfAttribution. Mancini. 2005. 215-231. . Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Haggard. Knoblich & R. Tsakiris & P. Naturalizing the acting self: subjective vs. Haggard. Self and other in the human motor system. The Neuroscientist (in press). Flach. Rizzolatti. Motor facilitation during action observation: a magnetic stimulation study. 16. Pavesi & G. [49] L. S. Lamm. Legrand. 2006. Fadiga. [44] M. M. [47] D. Schutz-Bosbach.

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....................... 170 Mirror policies ......... 1759/1976........................................................... The functional requirement refers to the operation of representational devices with mirror-like properties (mirrors inside).... 168 Mirror games................ received...................... p................. 2008 © 2008 The authors.. among many other things...... 110). [That mirror] is placed in the countenance and behaviour of those he lives with […].... 172 11........4 11................ which first appeared in 1759........................... the beauty and deformity of his own mind................................ these are objects which he cannot easily see..... 166 Mirrors inside..... All rights reserved.....................5 11.... arising from different modes of mirroring and different modes of communication..................................... It is sometimes claimed that individuals come to shape their own minds through looking into the mirror of others (Social Mirroring)..... In this chapter I argue that two basic requirements must be fulfilled for social mirroring to work......... Morganti et al..........3 11.......... Social mirroring comes in various guises................ a functional and a social one..... What this suggests is ..... the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith raised. and it is here that he first views the propriety and impropriety of his own passions.............6 Others as mirrors for self ............... which naturally he does not look at........... and with regard to which he is not provided with [a] mirror....1 Others as mirrors for self In his Theory of Moral Sentiments............................ Social mirroring has two sides to it: mirroring (individual 1 mirrors individual 2) and understanding being mirrored (individual 2 understands that s/he is being mirrored by individual 1).....Enacting Intersubjectivity F...........1 11...... 165 Varieties of mirroring ............................................. 171 References.2 11." (Smith. 165 11 Mirror Games Wolfgang PRINZ Abstract. the issue of how people come to understand and appraise their own conduct........................ The social requirement refers to discourses and practices for using and exploiting mirrors inside in social interaction ("mirror games" and "mirror policies") Contents 11....... Let me start with a short quotation summarizing his view on how an individual perceives his/her own actions: ".. and understood by others..... (Eds...................) IOS Press........................... The notion here is that individuals come to perceive and understand themselves through mirroring themselves in others – that is by understanding how their conduct is perceived...........

11. In this chapter I raise the issue whether there is anything serious behind the metaphorical use of the notion of mirroring in the context of self-recognition and self-reflection. even a systematically distorted one). The notion of social mirroring is widespread in the social sciences. By mirrors outside I refer to social mirrors that individuals encounter in their environments. NeuroImaging [8-12]. it may be useful to draw two distinctions. and that of the mirror individual M who is mirroring T’s acting. provided that mirrors outside are met by mirrors inside. Notably. Obviously. Cognitive Psychology [3. M. the other (M) acts as a mirror for self (T) in a more or less literal sense.1 Modes of mirroring In the most fundamental form of social mirroring. Social mirrors are of course fundamentally different from physical mirrors. complementary). In most of these research traditions and their associated literatures the concept of mirror is used as a metaphor that stands for close functional relationships between action perception and production. or replicated by M (reciprocal mirroring). and their kinematics will never be as perfectly correlated with T’s acting as specular images are.166 W. We can only speak of reciprocal mirroring as long as T is in a position to recognize and . one between two basic modes of mirroring (reciprocal vs. By mirrors inside I refer to mirror-like representational devices operating inside their minds. perhaps. 11. interact with each other in ways that give rise to the formation of the mental self. Developmental Psychology [15-18] and Social Psychology [19-21]. In the cognitive science domain this notion has recently been discovered. Reciprocal mirroring can only work if these distortions are limited. In a setting like this. such as Neurophysiology [4-7]. In the following I discuss in what ways M can mirror T and how T can find her own action mirrored through M’s action. These two kinds of mirrors. For the target individual. the mirror individual.2 Varieties of mirroring Social mirroring has two sides to it: that of the target individual T whose acting is being mirrored. provides a living mirror that exists in her environment in the same way as physical mirrors do. T sees her own action imitated. Even if M attempts to provide asperfect-as-possible copies of T’s acting. and another one between two modes of communication (embodied vs. the mirror-like appearance of M’s action will become even poorer when M does not even try to provide a perfect copy of T’s action (or. those copies will always be delayed in time.2. 13. symbolic). the discovery of mirror neurons and mirror systems in the monkey and the human brain has given rise to a growing literature on the possible role of mirror-like devices for self recognition and social interaction [2225]. Prinz / Mirror Games that social mirrors can take for individuals a similar role as physical mirrors do: Both help them to perceive themselves in the same way as others perceive them [13]. I suggest. In this chapter I take a look at social mirrors from a cognitive science perspective. I will argue that social mirroring can indeed play an important role for the formation of the self. or rediscovered in various branches. 14]. T. For answering these questions.

It does not even require explicit intentions to communicate something to someone else on either side. More familiar to adults is action mirroring through symbolic communication. Such interactions have been extensively studied. In a setting like this. require a smart machinery for action production and action perception. i. As long as this condition is fulfilled. Routines for embodied mirroring play an important role in interactions between young infants and their caretakers. however. Most of these studies focus on the baby’s production.2. A slightly different form of social mirroring arises when T sees her own action continued and carried on by M rather than replicated (complementary mirroring). 11. However. In this case. Communication is here embodied in the sense that it relies on T’s and M’s competence for both production of own action and perception of foreign action. we may leave it open what the grain size of appropriate action units and the magnitude of acceptable delays may be. and (2) that this contingency needs to be perceived and understood by T. Still. Quite surprisingly. Though it does not require language. literature on this perspective is scarce. This is. starts talking about T’s . it does. but not on her perception of imitative action [18.e. a recent study has demonstrated such sensitivity in macaques as well [34]. Sensitivity to being imitated has only occasionally been studied in babies [18. entirely different from what physical mirrors do. Hence. and M. precisely the perspective that one needs to adopt in order to understand how social mirroring can contribute to the formation of the self. what complementary mirroring has in common with reciprocal mirroring is (1) that M’s action is strongly contingent upon T’s preceding action. It starts with T acting in a particular way. and eventually that replication/continuation is perceived and somehow “understood” by T. upon perceiving T’s acting. the other (M) does not act as a mirror in the strict sense of reflecting self’s own preceding action but only in the loose sense of continuing that action in a meaningful way. Prinz / Mirror Games 167 understand M’s acting as a delayed copy of her own preceding acting. starts replicating or continuing that action. 3133]. particularly with regard to the development of imitation and its underlying mechanisms. then M. Such embodied mirroring does not require a language system in which the two communicate. upon perceiving T’s acting. 26-30]. this does not mean that embodied mirroring relies on primitive representational resources. The sole requirement is that competent perceivers/actors meet and interact.2 Modes of communication The examples considered so far draw on what we may call mirroring through embodied communication. Babies and their mothers will often find themselves involved in what has been called protoconversational interactions. this work views the baby in the role of individual M (who mirrors mother’s actions) but not in the role of individual T (who perceives herself being mirrored by mother). Unfortunately. the reach of mirroring goes as far as T is in a position to assess M’s doing as a meaningful continuation of her own doing. too. interactions involving mutual imitation and continuation of actions and emotional expressions and taking turns in this funny game from time to time.W. the constitutive feature of reciprocal mirroring is T’s understanding of M’s action as a copy of T’s preceding own action. in fact. T acts in a particular way. of course. In other words. This is.

do humans have that cats and dogs do not have? Humans have mirrors inside. But they do so in a special way. will often entertain mirror conversations with their cats and dogs all day long – without any obvious consequences for the animals’ mental architectures. tokens of own action will get their entries in that . common coding and distal reference. Prinz / Mirror Games acting. M will be doing something else. Mirrors inside are representational devices that help them to exploit what mirrors outside afford.3 Mirrors inside What kinds of representational resources does our target individual T need to have in order to be in a position to capitalize on M’s mirroring for building up a representation of self? Evidently the mere fact of being mirrored from the outside will not do the job by itself. The notion of common coding posits a shared representational domain for perception and action. for most of the time.168 W. for making their minds. these devices serve to couple perception and action. They do exploit social mirrors for shaping and. In a setting like this. and how physical action can be explained through foregoing mental action. Common coding invokes that the same representational resources are used for both planning and control of own action and perception of foreign action. Mirror devices solve this problem by virtue of two basic design principles. In any case such symbolic mirroring is dependent on the two individuals’ competences for the production and perception of spoken language. and that verbal account is finally perceived and “understood” by T as referring to her own preceding acting.1 Design principles How do these mirror devices work and how do they interact with mirrors outside? Here is the functional problem to be solved. What. watching what M is doing. how they can be parsed and individuated. Human babies seem to be different in that respect. then. 11. This is precisely what folk psychology delivers us: a common-sense framework for the description and explanation of action to which we resort when we reflect and communicate about what people are doing and why they do what they do [35-39]. for instance. This raises the problem how T can tell mirroring from non-mirroring in M’s actions. Basically. Consider individual T. but that. in fact. the two individuals need to share a conceptual framework for the description and explanation of action.3. M’s verbal account of T’s acting cannot only vary along the dimension of replication/continuation but also along the dimension of description/explanation/evaluation. M communicates to T a verbal message concerning T’s action. and that message is then decoded and understood by T. 11. Suppose that M will occasionally mirror T. On top of speaking and listening to each other. As long as this problem is unsolved. T will not be in a position to capitalize on what the social mirror facing her affords. In other words. They need to draw on a shared action ontology that entails a common understanding of what actions are. Competences for production and perception of spoken language may thus be necessary conditions for symbolic mirroring to work. allowing for the operation of similarity between what comes in and what goes out. Pet owners. but they are certainly not sufficient.

and. perhaps. These mirrors go either way – to produce own action resembling perceived foreign action and to perceive foreign action resembling own action. M. Instead. 48]. the representational capacities of these devices are. Distal reference has two important implications: efficiency and publicity. shared between perception and production and. Embodied devices operate on implicit procedural knowledge for the perception and control of bodies and actions. it refers to the planned action and its intended outcome in the environment [47. mental representations for perception and action control are public in the sense of representing events in a way that satisfies the needs for successful communication about them.2 Embodied and symbolic devices So much about design principles.3. What we see and what we hear are neither patterns of sensory stimulation nor patterns of brain activation. we perceive objects and events in the environment – distal events rather than proximal stimuli or even central activations. In virtue of distal reference. That knowledge is contained in representational structures that build on acquired. No less obvious is distal reference on the action side. between others and self. that planning does not refer to muscle contractions or to activations in the motor cortex. Common coding makes it possible both to perceive and produce similarity between own action and foreign action. In virtue of distal reference. language-based resources. How can representations of own and foreign action be commensurate? The key feature here is distal reference. symbolic devices operate on explicit declarative knowledge about bodies and actions. 40-43]. and likewise will own action prime the perception of corresponding foreign action. T’s understanding of the mirror nature of M’s action will rely on the perception of foreign action that resembles previous self-produced action. the perceiver of similarity. Distal reference is fairly obvious on the perceptual side [44-46]. hence. These two design principles make up for mirrors inside. M’s mirroring of T’s acting will rely on production of own action that resembles perceived foreign action. Their operation is based on priming through similarity: perceived foreign action will prime corresponding own action. perceptual representations are efficient in the sense of representing environmental events in a way that satisfies the needs for successful interaction with them. For instance. the producer.W. emotion schemes. action schemes. Conversely. Instead. Without going into much detail. How are mirrors instantiated inside the human mind? This question brings us back to the two basic modes of mirroring: embodied and symbolic. On the embodied side we may discern mirror devices like body schemes. Prinz / Mirror Games 169 space on exactly the same dimensions as tokens of foreign action [14. As concerns production. Conversely. The other implication is publicity. let me briefly mention what I mean by these devices. and T. 11. from the outset. as concerns perception. One may . They always refer to public events in the environment. As I have argued elsewhere [3]. This knowledge is likely to be contained in representational structures that build on innate resources. Likewise. when we plan to hammer a nail into the wall. Common coding is thus a prerequisite for the mirror game between the two to work. This has important implications for either of our two model individuals. goal representations are efficient in the sense of effectuating the actions required to reach the pertinent goals [49].

and communication about. And again. predominantly. Such discourses permeate our daily life at several levels. what they think and do. These discourses attribute to individuals a mental configuration centred around a self. for individuals like Robinson Crusoe who live in isolation. it equally applies to both. devices like body or action schemes cannot fulfill their mirror function. While symbolic games rely on reciprocal talking about action. We tell stories to our children in order to explain to them just what it means to be a person. respectively. This is what Friday’s advent affords: mirrors inside need to be complemented by mirrors outside. On the symbolic side individuals have a rich conceptual framework for action identification. For instance. We thereby provide them with two tools. when using psychological common sense to explain people’s actions. others and self. and only later becomes applied to planning one’s own doings. for instance. symbolic and embodied. Such discourses are often embedded in narrative discourses of various kinds. From the outset. Mirror games are. 11. The other is the implicit syntax of its folk psychology. human conduct. To fulfill the promise. Yet. and evaluation at their disposal – a framework that forms the core of their folk-psychology beliefs about the mental dynamics of human action. social practices designed to confront mirrors inside with mirrors outside. Here I use the terms of attribution discourse and mirror practices for symbolic and embodied games. gets first developed for understanding what others do. One is that other individuals need to be around. Prinz / Mirror Games even invoke that they are first developed for others and then projected back to self – a view that poses a challenge to the widely accepted notion that knowledge of self is the natural fundament for knowledge of others. values and standards.4 Mirror games Mirror devices give a promise that cannot always be fulfilled. comprehension. This is what their reciprocal acting and talking affords: they need to engage in mirror games. lifelong identical self at its core. We may discern two basic kinds of such games. One is the explicit semantics of the culture in which they live – its customs and practices. Discourse about morals and rights are no less relevant when they identify the self as an autonomous source of decisions to act. Attribution discourses: Attribution discourses provide culturally standardized schemes of interpretation of. . That framework gets acquired and continuously shaped in languagebased interaction and communication. Folk psychology is based upon the idea of a subject having an explicit. For the rest of the chapter I take it for granted that embodied and symbolic mirror devices are in place and examine how they are used in mirror games. and how they get shaped through embodied and symbolic forms of learning and communication. too. how they work. two basic conditions must be met. myths and legends. which specifies how human agents function. The other is that the two individuals need to interact in particular ways. here I will not address this agenda. embodied games rely on reciprocal acting.170 W. some would argue that this framework. in other words. Fictional stories in books and movies are packed with talk about willing and behaving. The notion of embodied and symbolic mirrors opens a fascinating research agenda on how these devices emerge.

For instance. may in fact prove to be a crucial factor for the formation of the self in the first place [53. As a rule such action-based mirroring is not really cultivated as a social practice. and sometimes these habits are even considered to be inappropriate conduct that ought to be suppressed. thereby commenting on that acting in a non-verbal format. A person thinks of herself as others think of her. Individuals will often have no explicit intention to communicate anything to others and they may not even be aware of what they are doing. In early infancy embodied mirroring is the only game in town. from the viewpoint of the others.5 Mirror policies We should not think of mirror games as pieces of interaction that get automatically started when people meet each other. then. these implicit habits have exactly the same consequences as explicit practices: They let people perceive and receive their own doing through the mirror of somebody else. as well as laying the ground for perceiving and understanding themselves like others. states. 52]. an individual may cross his arms behind his head while facing another individual doing the same (reciprocation). In the same way individuals may accompany other individuals’ acting through pertinent facial and bodily gestures. There are two perspectives here. 50]. In no way are embodied mirror games limited to interactions between caretakers and infants. however. Now. 11. and the agent becomes accustomed to the role of a self ascribed to her by others. mirror games exploit others for building selves. and how they are rewarded or punished for their doings – be it in heaven or on earth. Prinz / Mirror Games 171 how their thinking is related to their doing. For caretakers the practice of reciprocating or continuing the baby’s doings is common and widespread – perhaps even a human universal. The other relates to the converse experience that self is/acts like others. By this term I refer to traits. Their mirroring reflects automatized habits [20.W. too – is confronted with a situation that already provides a role for her – in the shape of a self. mirror practices rely on interactions based on procedural knowledge for action perception and production. This aspect of the game has been shown to be a crucial factor for the formation of social bonding and coherence [51. One is related to the experience that others are/act like self. everyone of the agents – new arrivals. but rather as being embedded in what one could call mirror policies. and becoming attached to others. By engaging in mirror games. For babies these games seem to be of crucial importance for tuning in with. In a way. when agents in social groups organize their mutual interaction and communication in a way that each one expects all the other co-agents to also have a self. Mirror practices: While attribution discourses rely on exchange of declarative knowledge about action. and strategies that . Awareness of foreign ascriptions to oneself induces self-ascriptions. They also apply to interactions among grown-ups. Likewise an individual may take up another individual’s work (say washing a car) when the other is temporarily withdrawn (continuation). which has to date received less attention. 54]. Still. people make capital out of their capacity to understand mentality and agency in others for construing mentality and agency in themselves. This aspect of the game.

Iacoboni. mirror policies rely on both. Hurley & N. Gallese (Eds. Mechanisms of imitation and imitation in animals. V.). or elderly people. symbolic discourses and embodied practices. Iacoboni. In G. 247-266). NeuroImage. Rizzolatti.).). [7] M. For instance. and empathy. In M.6 References [1] A. UK: Clarendon Press. Fogassi & V. Cambridge. Mazziotta & G. Prinz (Eds. Assimilation is based on the dialectics of mirroring and perceiving being mirrored. evolution. Mechanisms of imitation and imitation in animals. 2005. Prinz / Mirror Games may govern individuals’ readiness to engage and become engaged in mirror games.). in press. Of minds and mirrors. 55-76). they may tend to mirror their kids. but not under others. Perspectives on imitation: From neuroscience to social science. Cambridge. The theory of moral sentiments. I. UK: Cambridge University Press. Craighero & L. [6] G. [5] G. and of each target individual as being included in some individuals’ target lists. MA: MIT Press. S103-S109. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. they may mirror some kinds of behaviours. they may be selective with respect to the target individuals whom they grant their mirroring. Hauf. J. Jeannerod. (pp. Buccino. In S. Oxford. Gallese. not only be prepared to imitate certain gestures. For instance. e 79. Rizzolatti. and perhaps their peers. [8] M. think of each mirror individual as entertaining an implicit list of target individuals with whom s/he is prone to engage in mirror games. Rizzolatti. Chater (Eds. Understanding others: Imitation. UK: Oxford University Press. language. Mirrors for embodied communication. 6. Mirror neurons and the evolution of brain and language. at times. but perhaps not – or to a much lesser degree – strangers. Smith. their folks. This way mirror policies act to induce both social assimilation and dissimilation. And. but refuse to mirror others. Försterling & P. [2] W.172 W. dissimilation is based on the dialectics of refusing to mirror and perceiving being refused. L. Embodied communication. Fadiga. Wachsmuth (Eds. Likewise. [3] W. In A. One concerns the conditions under which an individual is prone to imitate others and/or become imitated by others. 11.). but excluded from some other individuals’ lists. Perspectives on imitation: From neuroscience to social science. C. 2001. 2005. G. I. 14. Fadiga. 2005. In S. In any case embodied practices will add to the various sorts of symbolic discourses through which social relations are established and maintained in the first place. Meltzoff & W. 2005. The other dimension of mirror policies concerns selectivity. N. L. In principle. disabled individuals. They may be prone to mirror certain individuals. Chater (Eds. From mirror neurons to imitation: Facts and speculations. Neural simulation of action: A unifying mechanism for motor cognition. F. They may engage in mirror games under certain circumstances. Molnar-Szakacs. [4] G. . but even to provoke imitative responses by their caretakers. 37-59). (pp. Hurley & N. 1. We can. [9] M. Prinz. The mirror neuron system and imitation. (pp. The mirror system in humans. Stamenov & V. 3. 1. The imitative mind: Development. therefore. Oxford. Individuals may in fact be quite selective in playing mirror games. L. 1-19. Cambridge. 1759/1976. 2002. Prinz. (pp. and brain bases. most importantly. As recent evidence suggests [55-57] even newborns may. PLoS Biology. Mirroring and being mirrored is thus controlled for them by their proneness to become engaged in the game. Interaction Studies. Rizzolatti. but not others. 2002. An introduction to the social making of minds. 77-99). Knoblich & I. Gallese. MA: MIT Press. 1. We may discern two basic dimensions on which mirror policies vary. Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system.

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...... Contents 12. Morganti et al.... At a very early age......... DAUM..2 12. production.. Infants as young as 2.......... Perception and interpretation of goal-directed behaviour is one of the crucial social-cognitive skills in the field of human cognition............ There is ample evidence that in adults.......................... even more importantly..3 12...... Norbert ZMYJ... This early ability is often viewed as an important precursor for intentional understanding and.... bounded units)... 1. 4].... 8...4 Introduction... However.1 12...... Gisa ASCHERSLEBEN Abstract................ this initial ...................... Common Coding Principle..... studies on the development of this interrelation have yielded contradictory results.............. Spelke introduced the term Core Knowledge as according to her....... 175 12 Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control Moritz M.. 5-7]... 182 12..... 182 References............ Spelke [4] concludes from these and other studies that young infants have systematic knowledge about three principles in the domain of physics: continuity (objects move on connected.. perception and production of an action share a common representational ground where planned actions are represented in the same format as perceived events [e....... cohesion (objects move as connected............ infants start to be able to perceive and interpret a human action as goal-directed.......1 Introduction Research in developmental psychology has repeatedly shown that infants from early age on have an amazing knowledge about their surrounding environment [3...g.. and contact (objects affect one another’s motion if and only if they touch).............Enacting Intersubjectivity F........) IOS Press... (Eds... and imitation of goal-directed actions and discusses them in the light of existing hypotheses and theories on the development of action perception and production...................... 2]...... 178 Conclusion .......... At around the same age human infants are able to understand that objects are solid and cannot move through another [3.. A question which is discussed controversially is how infants’ abilities to perceive and understand goal-directed human actions are interrelated with their competence to perform the same behaviour... unobstructed paths)............................... 175 Interrelation of action perception and action control in development ....... 2008 © 2008 The authors......5 month old are able to represent the continued existence of a hidden object and understand that this object continues to exist after it disappeared [3.......... All rights reserved....... The present chapter integrates various findings from different studies investigating perception...... 9].. for later Theory of Mind development........

The ideomotor theory. Arm and hand movements are initiated before the target is within reaching distance. The competence to produce means-end behaviour becomes increasingly systematic over the next months. 12. and social cognition develop [20]. which can be seen as the first cognitive approach to action control. that is. The present chapter shall give an overview of the ontogeny of action understanding in the first years of life and how this development might be related to the development of action control. actions are directed towards an intended goal.1. 2. is not only physical but also social. at the same age other important skills like motor competence. play a crucial role in action control [21-24]. as it is important to learn that objects continue to exist even if they are no longer visible. Interestingly. However. which can be traced back to the 19th century. From the very first day of life. which always was and still is constraint by the laws of physics. with infants aged 9 to 12 months being able to produce spontaneous means-end behaviour [16-19]. This early representation of the physical world is important as by its biological nature.g. infants are already able to dissociate movement and goal in their action. infants’ reaching movements are predictive. in which infants have to differentiate between means and ends.2 History of research on human action The study of human actions has a long history in adult research. very early. as in adults. 15]. human perceptual-motor skills are the result of a long evolutionary history. This distinction becomes even more apparent in tasks. Thus. which are in the view of this approach functional anticipations of action effects. locomotion. it is even more important to learn how to control own actions and to come to understand and interpret actions performed by others. Thus. Whereas separate coding accounts need to postulate transformations to explain how . / Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control knowledge is innate. Intentional action requires a goal. to a simple body movement. Actions differ from body movements in their intentional character. and even before.M. infants act and interact in a social world. assumes that goal representations. 12.176 M. the environment. The primary assumption of this Common Coding approach is that action perception and action control share a common representational ground where planned actions are represented in the same format as perceived events. in which a human infant grows up. it is important for both theoretical considerations and practical experimental planning to distinguish the two constituents of an action: the movement and the goal. pull a cloth to receive a toy) around the age of 6 months [14.1 What constitutes an action? To study action understanding and control. Infants begin to pass simple versions of a means-end task (e. a clear definition is required of what constitutes an action – as opposed. which is seen as an anticipatory representation of the expected action effects. for example. Daum et al.1. As a consequence. And. 25]. Infants start at about 18 weeks of age to perform simple goal directed actions like reaching and grasping for stationary or even slowly moving objects [10]. and the reaching movement is geared ahead of the object’s momentary position toward a future interception position [11-13]. This idea has recently been picked up by Prinz and colleagues in the Common Coding approach [1.

infants differentiate in their reasoning between human action and object motion. Already at the age of 5 to 6 months. and pointing [52-55] and they have a broad notion of what counts as an agent. 50]. 39. In Woodward’s [36] seminal studies. infants are able to infer goals from a variety of cues like gaze direction.3 Perception of goal-directed action During the last years. . for a related assumption of common representations see 31]. a salient change in the object's state. and they can encode goal-directed actions of others. 6-monthold infants demonstrated a stronger novelty response to the hand grasping a new object but performing the old motion path than for the hand grasping the same object at a new position. infants were habituated to a grasping action towards one of two objects.. According to Gergely and colleagues infants apply a non-mentalistic action interpretation system. 41. a ball performing rational vs.. which also takes into account the context of the external goal and the situational constraints in order to interpret and understand actions [46. if the action is presented without the actual achievement of the goal [35]. Such action analysis is central to inferring intentions. objects that are perceptually similar to humans. for an exception see [38]. Interestingly.g. 47].1. At this age. This evidence shows that the Common Coding approach offers a powerful framework for the interpretation of action production as well as action perception [30.. In the testing phase.M. the action has to be performed by a human agent [36. Thus.e. / Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control 177 coordination between the action system and the perceptual system is achieved. 12. and on action perception [29]. Event representations that are common to perception and action make transformations between perceptual and motor information unnecessary.M. At the age of 9 to 11 months. a grasping action. 41-43].g. the action has to be either familiar to the infants [e. 26]. A few months later. on bimanual coordination [28]. infants start to be able to perceive and interpret actions as goal-directed [35-40]. that is. infants are able to parse observed sequences of continuous everyday actions along intention boundaries [49. 42].g. at 9 months of age. and at natural breakpoints the links between action and intention are especially strong [51]. infants’ ability to detect agents can no longer be reduced to perceive humans. from studies on the timing of movements [e. for example.. 40] or it has to result in a salient action effect [i. Daum et al. At the end of the first year. on stimulus-response compatibility [e. 27].. Moreover. non-rational movement patterns [44. 39.g. emotional expression. the perception and understanding of goal-directed action has been more and more identified to be one of the most crucial social-cognitive skills in cognitive development [32-34] and in the field human cognition per se [25]. the ‘teleological stance’. Empirical support for such an approach comes from different domains. To be interpreted as goal-directed by 6-month-olds. 45]. in which the positions of the two objects were switched. by the age of 6 months. infants’ abilities to understand others’ actions are extended to the understanding of computer-animated displays. Infants at this age are even able to encode the goal of an uncompleted action. e. the Common Coding account tells a much simpler story. the same action pattern can be interpreted already by 6-month-olds if the action is not performed by an inanimate object but by a human [48]. or objects that display self-propulsion but it is now based on the detection of goaldirectedness [56].

However. 68]. And infants’ intentional understanding in an imitation task at 14 and 18 months was related to the use of internal state language at 32 months.M. In this period. in which the adult model failed in achieving the end of the intended action. at the age of 14 months infants reproduce an action done on purpose but not an action done by accident [63] and infants understand that identical actions may have different goals depending on the context [32]. children are able to complete an observed intended action instead of just copying the surface features of failed attempts. / Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control These early competencies of action perception are further improved during the second year of life. They begin to understand other persons as intentional. which predicted their concept of intention tested at the age of four years [75. Meltzoff [60] showed that 18-month-olds could infer and imitate an adult’s intended act even by watching attempts. 59]. However. The presence of a ToM (as assessed by a standard. This is an essential basis for humans to communicate with each other in a meaningful way [67. Evidence from recent longitudinal studies suggests a close link between early social-cognitive skills like action understanding and later social cognition [72-74]. but they also understand that others choose specific means to obtain goals [58. which were unsuccessful [62]. decrement of attention during habituation to human intentional action was significantly correlated to ToM abilities and predicted later preschool mentalistic construal of persons [73]. 12.2 Interrelation of action perception and action control in development What we have learned so far in the previous section is that infants at a very early age show a sophisticated level of understanding of their social world. desires and intentions that are different from one’s own. And infants start to infer goals of other persons from their actions in varying situations. understanding and imitation of various kinds of intentional actions can be considered as an important precursor for the understanding of others’ intentions more importantly. Senju. 12-month-olds did not frequently imitate goal-directed actions. which is the case for 9-month-olds [57]. a . Subsequent studies demonstrated that also 15-month-olds are able to infer the goals of actions performed by a stuffed orang-utan operated by a puppeteer [61]. In a replication of the Meltzoff [60] study. they not only know that others pursue goals persistently. A similar relation has been shown between 6-month-olds’ habituation to a goal-directed action and their later performance in false belief tasks [74]. In his seminal study. That is. Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to interpret other people as having beliefs. Daum et al. Similarly. These early abilities of perception. In 14-month-olds for example.178 M. Southgate. in recent studies using looking paradigms. for a later development of a Theory of Mind [64-66]. infants or toddlers develop a more sophisticated understanding of other persons’ actions and their corresponding mental states. 76]. Thus by the age of around 15 months. verbal false belief task) was long considered to be present not before 4 years of age [69]. and Csibra [70] showed that already 25-month-old infants showed some extend of ToM when they were tested in a nonverbal implementation of the false belief task using and Onishi and Baillargeon [71] found such understanding even in infants as young as 15 months.

the mirror neuron system. 91]. There are two main hypotheses on how the interrelation between action perception and action production develops. in which participants had to initiate. there is disagreement whether a mirror neuron system and.g. and it was judged to be lighter when they were lifting a heavy box. On the other hand. 12. On the one hand. 78]. which has found support in adult research with many different paradigms. There is empirical evidence in support of both hypotheses. the interplay of action perception and production is extensively described in the theoretical framework of the Common Coding Principle [1. An observed box was judged to be heavier when subjects were lifting a light box.2. These findings of a common representation have received support from research on the neural basis of these shared representations. as fast as possible. a particular finger gesture while watching either the same or a different gesture performed by a hand on a computer screen. 86]. and Theory of Mind [89]. / Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control 179 question that remains open is how perception and understanding of actions are related to the infants own competence to perform the same action. 81. thus. Mirror neurons are neurons that fire both when an action is perceived and when it is performed. These findings and implications will be discussed in the following sections. The first hypothesis (action first) states that infants come to understand others’ actions based on an understanding of their own actions and a competence to produce own actions [92.M. Hamilton and colleagues [80]. Research on brain imaging in humans has shown similar evidence for common brain regions subserving perception and production of actions [85. which they are not yet able to produce themselves.1 Action first: perception grounded in action Evidence for the action first hypothesis first came from constructivist theories based on the work of Jean Piaget [95]. In the field of developmental psychology. 2] mentioned above.g. The second hypothesis (perception first) suggests that infants’ understanding of their own actions is based on the understanding of other people’s actions [e. however. infants and toddlers construct a representation of the world . Participants initiated the required gesture much faster when the same gesture was shown on the screen compared to a different gesture. for example found that actively lifting a box altered the perceptual judgment. e. 80. using imitation paradigms [77.M. 84].. e. In adults. a possible interrelation of action perception and control is already in place at birth or in early infancy [for a detailed overview. This account assumes a bidirectional influence of action and perception. see 90] and about the developmental direction of this interrelation. They have first been discovered in the premotor area (F5) of the macaque brain [83.. Daum et al. language acquisition [88]. 93]. in imitation. An important issue discussed in the literature is whether in infants the understanding of oneself as an agent precedes the understanding of others as agents or vice versa [see. planned or executed action can also have an impact on the perception of events if they share common features [79. perceived events can have an impact on planned and executed actions if perceived events and planned actions share common features as has been shown. 94] and that infants are able to understand actions. Brass and colleagues [77] conducted a task. 82]. In the sensorimotor stage during the first two years of life. for example.g. empathy [87].

This emulation of others’ actions helps to generate predictions about future events and thus. Empirical evidence comes from several studies on infants’ understanding of goal-directed actions. which received supporting evidence from neonativist accounts [3.M. 111. it has been proposed that the motor system is used to emulate observed actions.. Baillargeon and Graber [111] used a looking-time paradigm to examine 8-month-olds’ ability to remember the location of a hidden object. the motor system maps the perceived actions of others’ actions onto one’s own action repertoire.g. 106]. infants tend to search in the wrong location A (A-not-B error). 12. This general view is supported by findings indicating that prior action experience can alter and facilitate following action perception [108. . Three-month-old infants were presented with a rolling ball. Via covert imitation. therefore. In this paradigm. where the toy was actually hidden. p. in which infants increased their attention to auditory and visual properties of objects as this information becomes useful for guiding new actions [99]. assumes that infants’ cognition is first expressed in their perceptions and that. Studies testing 8-month-old infants have shown that when an object is hidden in a location A and then in location B. begets an understanding of other minds” [92. 109].to 9-month-old infants only seem to be able to understand actions. 17. Infants at this age tend to use the ipsilateral hand when reaching for an object [ipsilateral bias in reaching during early development. and the neural machinery that underlies it. support for the action first hypothesis came from the famous neonatal imitation studies by Meltzoff and Moore [100]. 107]. The results of two recent studies show that 6. infants imitated an action more often if this action was already in the infants’ action repertoire (ipsilateral reach) than if the action was not yet in the infants’ action repertoire (contralateral reach). 110]. which they are able to perform themselves [105. More evidence comes from a similar set of studies investigating infants’ and toddlers’ knowledge about solidity [3. infants looked longer when an actors hand retrieved a toy from an inconsistent position than when the actor retrieved the toy from a consistent position.2.and 12-month-old infants.2 Perception first: action grounded in perception The perception first hypothesis. And third. The hypothesis received support from different directions. Empirical support for this assumption comes. to understand underlying goals [101-103]. Second. / Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control through self-motivated action in and interaction with the surrounding world [9698]. from findings on the development of infants’ manual skills. First. Daum et al. 112]. for example. however.180 M. These results indicate that the ability of 8-month-old infants to remember the location of a hidden object is far better than their performance in the A-not-B-Error search task. Longo and Bertenthal [106] looked at perseverative search errors of 9-month-olds in a task comparing covert imitation of ipsilateral and contralateral reaches. They discovered that newborns can imitate facial acts and concluded “that imitation. only at the age of 12 months this causal structure influences infants’ expectations about the perceived means-end event. 56]. In the imitation task. from studies on infants’ search behaviour [e. infants’ understanding of their own actions is based on the understanding of other people’s action. Using a means-end task with 8. 113]. Schlesinger and Langer [104] demonstrated that already 8-month-old infants were able to respond to the causal structure of a means-end sequence in their action.

however. Again. a preferential looking paradigm was used. In a study on the understanding of goal-directed but uncompleted actions. infants seem to detect incongruences with physical laws. Thus. here is a dissociation between the rather sophisticated knowledge about solidity and continuity of infants and the rather poor performance in toddlers.M.and 2. infants had to pull a cloth to receive a toy.M. 6-month-olds abilities to perceive and perform a simple means-end task were tested in both an action perception and an action production task [14]. This study also exhibited no difference between infants’ ability to encode ipsilateral or contralateral reaching movements. showing above the occluder. In a recent study. infants discriminated between expected and unexpected outcomes of the pulling action. in a study examining infants understanding of tool-use actions it was shown 9-month-old infants are able to interpret an action performed by a mechanical device (a claw) as goal-directed. Infants at this age are not yet able to intentionally use a claw as a tool but they were shown to be able to interpret an action performed with the claw. When the occluder was removed and the children were presented either a consistent event. Recent evidence from our own research with 6. This perceptual ability was independent of their actual competence to perform means-end behaviour in the action production task. where the ball seemed to have passed the obstacle and violated the rules of solidity infants looked reliably longer at the inconsistent event than at the consistent event [3]. Finally. if children at the age of 2 to 3 years have to actively search for a ball rolled behind an occluder. already at the age of 3 months. Furthermore. which starts only at the age of 9 months [117]. in which the ball was resting in front of the obstacle or an inconsistent event. an obstacle was placed on the track behind the occluder. they do not support the common sense view that infants’ understanding of their own actions is a precondition for the understanding of other people’s actions. seems to develop at a later age [107].and 9-month old infants further supports this hypothesis. In an action perception version. but failed in an active search task [114. in which infants were shown an actor performing support pulling behaviour with an expected and an unexpected outcome. In an action production version. However. . Results showed that in the perception task. however.5-year-olds did not perform above chance [113]. infants were able to encode the goal of an action only when they perceived the action from an allocentric perspective (as performed by another person) but not from an egocentric perspective. The ability to perform contralateral reaching movements. similar to the perspective from which they perceive their own manual actions [35]. This ability seems to be independent from infants’ ability to anticipatorily adjust the aperture size of their own hands to the size of a target object. the same toddlers succeed in detecting impossible outcomes of an person or puppet searching an object. On test trials. In sum. 115]. The ability to visually differentiate between consistent and inconsistent events is not lost in toddlers: if tested in a looking time paradigm. if the infants were shown that the device was operated by a human hand [33]. most of the 2. Daum et al. Similar results were reported by Bertenthal and Longo [118] showing the same effect in an A-not-B-Error task. already 6-month-olds are able to encode the goal of a grasping action towards objects of different sizes from the aperture size of the actor’s hand during the grasp [116]. / Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control 181 which disappeared behind an occluder. these findings suggest a close link between action perception and action production.

/ Early Ontogeny of Action Perception and Control 12. 167-201). Relationships between perception and action. Not to be reduced for either direction of influence extends the possibilities to acquire knowledge about the surrounding physical and social world. 2001. S. 1992. In the present chapter we showed that this intersubjectivity is deeply rooted already very early in infancy. This hypothesis of a parallel development of action perception and control received recent support by a study conducted by Sommerville and Woodward [121]. Wilcox. Nadel & R.3 Conclusion To sum up. Prinz. 99. 431-445.M. 1987. Baillargeon. one can conclude. Perception and action planning. Prinz (Eds. R. . For a larger overview of a possible theoretical background of the parallel development of action perception and control. This early understanding of others’ actions provides fundamental basis for the understanding others’ mental states. S. 20. E. Baillargeon. Psychological Review. and we need to understand other people’s actions to interact with them. 19. Cognition. that cognitive development does not only seem to be depend on experience with own actions but also on shared experiences with other persons. 12. Infants' knowledge about occlusion and containment events: a surprising discrepancy. 207-245. E.). J. 1994. as human beings. Wasserman. 23. A common coding approach to perception and action. 1996. Daum et al. S. It is thus of great relevance to learn how to control own actions and to come to understand and interpret actions performed by others. 1990. 191-208. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.4 References [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] W. Spelke. Initial knowledge: Six suggestions. 119. 1997. Spelke. in which infants aged 10 months either succeeded in both the perception and the action version of a means-end support task or failed in both tasks. Spelke & S.and 4 1/2-month-old infants. Cognition. Jacobson. 655-664. we need to coordinate our actions with others. see Aschersleben [122]. Location memory in healthy preterm and fullterm infants. 2001. 78. 120]. the research reviewed in this chapter has shown that infants start at a very early age to successfully interpret other’s goal-directed actions. A strong and bidirectional interrelation already in very early infancy may serve as an extremely powerful engine in the development of social understanding [65. Object permanence in 3 1/2. Neumann and W. T. 141-147. R. Hespos & R. Breinlinger. Infant Behavior and Development. S. 12. Cognition. Rosser. 605-632. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology. E. J. Origins of Knowledge. J. 9. Object permanence in five-month-old infants. Psychological Science. Prinz. Baillargeon. In O. Baillargeon. It was furthermore shown that perception and control of an action are mechanisms which are from very early on deeply intertwined similar to adults. From the research reported. To sum up. 50. W. Hespos & R. L. Due to an early presence of a mirror neuron system or a common representation of perception and action as described earlier in adults might allow the causal influence of action perception and control to be bidirectional. (pp. K. Macomber & K. an earlier development of action control compared to action perception and vice versa. Reasoning about containment events in very young infants. Developmental Psychology. S.182 M. 1985. The underlying neural mechanisms of this early understanding of the surrounding social world seems not to be fundamentally different from adults’ as research on the interrelation of action perception and control shows both. 129154.

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Enacting Intersubjectivity F. Morganti et al. (Eds.) IOS Press, 2008 © 2008 The authors. All rights reserved.



The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity
Abstract. Since the beginning of the Nineteen-eighties, cognitive scientists have shown increasing interest in a range of phenomena, processes and capacities underlying human interaction, collectively referred to as intersubjectivity. The goal of this line of research is to give an account of the various forms of human interaction, and in particular of the affective, attentional and intentional determinants of joint activity. The main thesis we develop in the paper is that so far the authors interested in intersubjectivity have neglected, or at least undervalued, an important aspect of joint activity, that is, the essentially normative character of collective intentionality. Our approach to joint activity is mainly based on Margaret Gilbert’s theory of plural subjects. Gilbert’s general idea is that joint activities should be regarded as activities carried out by individuals who stand to one another in a special relation, called joint commitment, which has an intrinsically normative nature. As we shall try to show, the concept of a joint commitment is a powerful tool to explain certain specific features of joint activities. In the paper we first point out certain explanatory inadequacies of the current models of intersubjectivity, and contend that such inadequacies depend on failing to appreciate the fundamental role of normativity in collective intentionality. We briefly sketch Gilbert’s theory of plural subjects, and introduce the concept of a joint commitment, and then discuss some lines along which a psychology of plural subjects may be developed.

Contents 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Introduction....................................................................................................... 188 Intersubjectivity and deontic normativity ......................................................... 189 Joint commitment ............................................................................................. 191 Steps to a psychology of plural subjects ........................................................... 193 Conclusions....................................................................................................... 199 References......................................................................................................... 200


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13.1 Introduction Since the beginning of the Nineteen-eighties, cognitive scientists have shown increasing interest in a range of phenomena, processes and capacities underlying human interaction, collectively referred to as intersubjectivity. The view advocated by these scientists is remarkably different from the one developed within the more traditional Theory of Mind approaches, either in the “Theory Theory” or in the “Simulation Theory” versions. Through the contributions of several authors [1-10] a novel view of human interaction is being developed, that is compatible with state-of-the-art knowledge on the phylogenesis and ontogenesis of interaction capacities, with the analysis of human experience worked out by phenomenologists, and with recent findings in the field of the neurosciences. The goal of this line of research is to give an account of the various forms of human interaction, and in particular of the affective, attentional and intentional determinants of joint activity. Indeed, joint activity has long been a major issue for the social sciences and for analythical philosophy. Broadly speaking, the relevant theories can be classified in two groups: in the first group we have theories that attempt to give a summative account of joint activity, reducing it to the same building blocks underlying individual activity; the second group includes nonsummative theories, which claim that joint activity requires certain special types of mental representations, often referred to as “collective intentionality” [11]. Most authors currently interested in intersubjectivity support some form of nonsummative account. Observational and experimental results on non-human primates, human adults, and human children suggest that humans possess specific mental capacities, which enable forms of joint activity that are precluded to other primate species. A complete and coherent view of such capacities, however, is still beyond the state of the art. In this paper we aim to give a contribution to the construction of such a view. Our main thesis is that so far the authors interested in intersubjectivity have neglected, or at least undervalued, an important aspect of joint activity, that is, the essentially normative character of collective intentionality. Our approach to joint activity is mainly based on Margaret Gilbert’s theory of plural subjects [12-15]. Gilbert’s general idea is that joint activities should be regarded as activities carried out by plural subjects, which can be viewed as sets of individual subjects who stand to one another in a special relation, named joint commitment, that has an intrinsically normative nature. As we shall try to show, the concept of a joint commitment is a powerful tool to explain certain specific features of human joint activities. This article is structured as follows. In Section 2 we point out certain explanatory inadequacies of the current models of intersubjectivity, and contend that such inadequacies depend on failing to appreciate the fundamental role of normativity in collective intentionality. In Section 3 we briefly sketch Gilbert’s theory of plural subjects, and introduce the concept of a joint commitment. In Section 4 we discuss some lines along which a psychology of plural subjects may be developed. Finally, in Section 5 we draw some conclusions and delineate some directions for future research.

A. Carassa et al. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity


13.2 Intersubjectivity and deontic normativity Since Trevarthen’s distinction between primary and secondary intersubjectivity [1], it has become customary to differentiate among different types of intersubjectivity. For example, Stern [16] distinguishes between interaffective, interattentional, and interintentional sharing of experiences, and his distinction is taken up by other autors, like for example Ingar Brink [17]. Gärdenfors [5] advocates a similar position, but adds a fourth component, that is, representing the beliefs and knowledge of others. In general, the different components of intersubjectivity are taken to be stratified in levels, both from an evolutionary and a developmental point of view. One of the leading themes of this area of research is to characterise human intersubjectivity with respect to the intersubjectivity of non-human primates, singling out the developmental phases at which specifically human structures and processes appear. Here we shall comment on a few works that we find representative of this approach. In a paper on “What makes human cognition unique,” Tomasello and Rakoczy [18] compare the impact on human social cognition of two key developmental moments, the first at about one year of age and the second at about four years. In the authors’ terminology, the first ontogenetic step brings in shared intentionality, that is, the childrens’ “ability to establish self-other equivalence, to take different perspectives on things, and to reflect on and provide normative judgement on their own cognitive activities” (p. 123). The second ontogenetic step, which comes after several years of “continuous interaction, especially linguistic interaction, with other persons” brings in collective intentionality, which ends up in the “comprehension of cultural institutions based on collective beliefs and practices such as money and marriage and government.” While it is obvious that the second ontogenetic step is uniquely human, Tomasello and Rakoczy contend that a fundamental qualitative difference between human and non-human primates is already brought in by the first step, which sets the bases that make the second step possible. One important aspect whose emergence brings from the first to the second developmental moment is normativity. Here we need to comment on this term, because it is used with different meanings, one of which is essential to our proposal. In the paper we are considering, the authors distinguish between original and derived normativity (p. 127). Original normativity is in fact coextensive with intentionality: every intentional state, as such, has conditions of satisfaction, and can therefore succeed or fail [19]. An intentional action, for example, may achieve or fail to achieve its purpose, and a belief may be true or false. Given that intentional states are the same thing as (mental) representations, we call this kind of normativity representational. Derived normativity has to do with the collectively accepted functions of artefacts. A fork is for bringing solid food to one’s mouth, a switch is to turn the light on and off, and so on: functions are normative in the sense that they tell us how an artefact ought to be used. We call this kind of normativity functional. Besides representational and functional normativity, however, there is a third important kind of normativity, that we call deontic. Deontic normativity has to do with obligations and rights, in particular with directed obligations and rights, that is, the obligations and rights that a subject has relative to other subjects. Deontic normativity is often believed to come about


A. Carassa et al. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity

only with complex cultural products like legal systems, regulations, contracts and the like. On the contrary, we shall defend the idea that a form of deontic normativity is already there in every kind of joint activity, being a constitutive component of collective intentionality. If this is the case, representational and functional normativity, although essential for human cognition, are not sufficient to account for the normativity of collective intentionality. A second paper we want to discuss here is Brink and Gärdenfors’s work on cooperation and communication in apes and humans [6]. The authors argue that non-human primates are incapable of future-directed cooperation, which “concerns new goals that lack fixed value” and “requires symbolic communication and context-independent representations of means and goals” (p. 484). In this paper, Brink and Gärdenfors remark that one of the key aspects of cooperation, that is, the guarantee of proper compensation for one’s efforts, becomes hazardous with future-directed cooperation. As the authors put it, “in the case of as yet imaginary goals, compensation becomes much more of a venture than a safe strategy” (pp. 488-489). Brink and Gärdenfors consider cooperation within a game-theoretical framework. Much of their argument is based on the difficulty of developing reliable expectations about the others’ behaviour; expectations are regarded as a purely informational phenomenon, and there is little concern for the normative component of interaction. Toward the end of the paper, the authors turn their attention to aspects of cooperation that involve deontic normativity, like feelings of shame and the expectation of sanctions from the rest of the group related to defective behaviour. This line of thought, however, is not pursued to the point of considering future-directed cooperation as a form of interaction intrinsically driven by deontic normativity. As Brink and Gärdenfors remark, the core problem of future-directed cooperation is that “it will be difficult to make estimates concerning the behaviour of other agents on the basis of previous experience, since the situation is new and unknown” (p. 499). We shall argue in the rest of this paper that providing a sound basis for estimating the future behaviour of other agents is the primary function of joint commitments. Another relevant work is Gärdenfors’s article on the cognitive and communicative demands of cooperation [4], where the author presents a table of different forms of cooperation, at least three of which (“Commitment and contract”, “Cooperation based on conventions”, “The cooperation of Homo oeconomicus”; p. 20) seem to us to involve deontic normativity. Among the demands of these forms of cooperation a special place is given to symbolic communication, while the role of deontic normativity is ignored. For example, it is said (p. 14) that “to promise something only means that you intend to do it. On the other hand, when you commit yourself to a second person to do an action, you intend to perform the action in the future, the other person wants you to do it and intends to check that you do it, and there is joint belief concerning these intentions and desires [20]. Unlike promises, commitments can thus not arise unless the agents achieve joint beliefs and have anticipatory cognition.” Two criticisms can be made to this position. The first is that promising creates obligations, and is not limited to letting someone else know what one intends to do (see for example [21]). The second is that committing to a second person to do an action cannot be analysed only in terms of epistemic and volitional states like beliefs, desires, and intentions. So, on the one hand to promising is committing oneself; on the other

somewhat vaguely.e. we believe. and entitlements) generated by joint commitments. group feelings. If this is the case. In the current landscape. there is more to commitment than achieving joint beliefs and having anticipatory cognition. Gilbert’s theory is unique in placing deontic normativity at the very heart of collective intentionality. The importance of normative concepts in general. in their pioneering book Winograd and Flores [24] wanted “to counteract the forgetfulness of commitment that pervades much of the discussion (both theoretical and commonplace) about language” (p. For example. 120). rights. 13. commitments are regarded. In the rest of this paper we shall try to give an initial contribution in this direction. In [22] the author interprets young children’s pretend play as examples of cooperative activities involving the collective definition of fragments of social reality (understood along the lines of Searle’s account [23]). commitmentbased models have been proposed and discussed since the concept of a commitment store was introduced by Hamblin [25] and later developed by Walton and Krabbe [26]. Carassa et al. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity 191 hand. We believe that the best way to characterise such “normative inferential (reason giving) relations” is to regard them as deontic relationships (i. . and so on) involve a normative component. side by side with representative power and syntactic compositionality. 76). directed obligations. starting from a concise introduction to Gilbert’s concept of a plural subject. but now the collaborator’s actions and intentions provide reasons for me to act accordingly in the course of the joint action” (p.A. called joint commitment. In a series of important works. collective beliefs. In argumentation theory. Still it seems to us that the deontic nature of joint commitment is not fully appreciated. social conventions.3 Joint commitment Gilbert’s theory of joint activities is centred on the concept of a plural subject and to the strictly related normative notion of a joint commitment.. for understanding human interactions has been recognised long ago. The discussion we have carried out so far suggests that deontic normativity may indeed be a fundamental component of human interaction. John Searle [27] has advocated a view of human language in which deontic normativity is regarded as a basic constitutive component. “a we-intention essentially involves some basic form of commitment to acting together. analogous to the individual commitment of actors in solitary actions. As a consequence. but different in that not only my own desires and intentions provide reasons for further intentions and actions. Gilbert’s idea is that all genuinely collective phenomena (like joint activities. Hannes Rakoczy investigates the children’s ability to construct and exploit social reality. that turns the set of interacting subjects into a plural subject. as “quite minimally involving an appreciation of normative inferential (reason giving) relations between collaborators’ and own actions and the willingness to respect these relations in the pursuit of acting together successfully” (p. Rakoczy’s interpretation of pretend play comes very close to the concept of joint commitment that we shall discuss in the following sections: in Rakoczy’s words. theories of intersubjectivity will have to grant deontic normativity the room it deserves. and of commitment in particular. Very recently. 120).

and can rescind the commitment as he or she pleases. from shared understanding of a culturally meaningful context. Such common knowledge may derive from explicit agreements. is that it is common knowledge of all parties that every party is ready to engage in some joint enterprise. (A directed obligation is an obligation that a subject. However. and has the right that all other subjects do their parts. however. to engage in a common enterprise as a single body. A subject may be individually committed to do X. like directed obligations and the correlative rights and entitlements. For our current purpose. Below we briefly describe the main features of this important concept. in the individual case the subject is the only “owner” of the commitment. and this suffices to create a joint commitment to have a walk together. Let us consider a few examples. because while Bob is now obliged to do what he promised. a number of subjects jointly committed to do X form a plural subject of doing X. but until this does not happen the subject is committed to do X. The main difference between individual and joint commitments is that joint commitments are not separately “owned” by their parties. so to speak. Part III. the main feature of joint commitments is that they generate deontic relationships. It is characteristic of joint commitments that all such obligations are created simultaneously. In certain situations. which we shall call parties of the joint commitment. joint commitments are much more common in human interaction than one may think. the creditor of the obligation. Even an apparently unilateral promise. what is necessary and sufficient to create a joint commitment. Joint commitments may arise as a result of an agreement. then it will be common knowledge of Ann and Bob that they are both ready to engage in a walk together. Being committed to do X is a reason (although not a sufficient cause) for the subject to do X. Chapter 7). “I’m going for a walk.192 A. “Yes. but also from less structured communicative exchanges and. for a group of individuals to be bound by a joint commitment it is necessary and sufficient for them to entertain certain mental representations. like for example a dinner party. a joint commitment is a commitment of two or more subjects. What it means for a group of individuals to be jointly committed to doing X (or believing X. but they are. collectively owned by all parties at the same time. like Bob saying to Ann “I promise to come visit tomorrow evening. explicit agreements are not necessary: according to Gilbert. In turn.” if accepted by the Ann creates a joint commitment. Chapter 4. but in fact it is nothing more than a group of individuals bound by a joint commitment. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity The idea of a “plural subject” may sound metaphysically suspicious. owes to another subject. like chatting or dancing. with the other participants. it will be common knowledge of all participants (without the need of specific communicative exchanges) that all parties are ready to carry out certain kinds of joint activities.) If n subjects are jointly committed to do something. and thus to set up a plural subject. then every subject is obligated to all other subjects to do his or her part of the joint activity. Ann is obliged to stay at home and welcome Bob. the debtor of the obligation. would you like to come?” If Bob answers. Taken together. sure!”. Carassa et al. for example as a result of a personal decision: such a decision may be rescinded. [14]. and [15]. Contrary to individual commitments. and so on) is explained by Gilbert in several books and papers (see in particular [13]. Every directed obligation brings about a correlative right of the creditor to the debtor. in many cases. or feeling X. Indeed. Ann may say to Bob. and are interdependent in the sense that if .

that is. among the others. engaging in a game together is by itself a source of obligations. At present. From an analysis of current literature. For example. thus avoiding the risk of being mislead by fluctuating motivations. when a group of people engage in a game. But. and some are psychological. it is not surprising that so much attention has been devoted to it by scholars of disciplines like cognitive psychology. has been analysed. It is important to understand that such commitments are not imposed to the parties from the outside. If we construe the concept of a reason broadly enough. it seems that most authors do not find it problematic to extend the stabilising function of intentions from individual to joint action: even the most complex forms of cooperation are assumed to require nothing more than the ability to share nested intentions and beliefs. The function of future-directed intentions. in the sense that they concern the function and structure of joint commitments. based on the experimental evidence collected so far.A. we understand human beings as rational animals. What exactly this amounts to depends on a variety of circumstances. who stresses their characteristic role of coordinating practical reasoning. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity 193 one of the parties fails to fulfill one of his or her obligations. In the two following sections we shall submit some initial answers to the previous questions. in the sense that they directly concern human mental capacities. In particular. Our brief presentation of plural subjects and joint commitments raises a number of important issues: What is the function of joint commitment? To what kind of things can people jointly commit? What kinds of joint commitments are involved in joint activities? What kinds of cognitive processes underlie joint commitment? How do people make and maintain joint commitments? Since what age are humans able to participate in joint commitments? Some of these questions are logical.4. Gärdenfors [5] states that “If we agree that I shall deliver a hen tomorrow in exchange for the axe you have . including the number of members of the plural subject. Indeed future-directed intentions. introducing contracts as a sophisticated form of human cooperation. Given that anticipatory planning is one of the distinctive features of Homo sapiens [28]. and thus involves joint commitments. some authors are starting to see that this is not sufficient. every genuine case of joint activity is an activity carried out by a plural subject. philosophy of mind. but are “internal” to the joint activity. organised into complex plans. economy. allow human subjects to reason within stable tracks directed to specific purposes. the ability to plan their future. humans are not the only rational species on Earth. or prior intentions in Searle’s terminology [19]. in the case of two parties the violation of an obligation by one of them rescinds the joint commitment. we do not need to assume that there is some external source of obligations that compels the participants to follow the rules of the game: rather. and artificial intelligence. According to Gilbert. For example. then the joint commitment is violated. Carassa et al. by Michael Bratman [29].4 Steps to a psychology of plural subjects 13. it is generally accepted that humans are the only species that can deploy a very specific type of rationality. 13.1 The function of joint commitments At least since Aristotle.

a contract depends on the possibility of future sanctions and thus on anticipatory cognition: If I don’t deliver the hen. In our view joint commitments play. which will be determined case by case in a context-sensitive way. like proving support to each other in difficult situations. by treating every person with equity. 13. in the case of collective activities. or a group of people are sorry for a distressing event occurred to a common friend: statements like “We are proud of being the first to land on Mars” . Ann and Bob may form a plural subject of mutual care. This seems to be the case when. Carassa et al. Furthermore. what can be the content of a joint commitment? The most obvious examples of joint commitments concern joint activities. every party of the plural subject is obliged to act accordingly. even before we ask ourselves whether this reduction is psychologically plausible. by reacting to blatant discriminations. I believe that you believe that I will deliver the hen and you believe that I believe that our agreement will then be fulfilled.2 The structure of joint commitments To what kind of things can people jointly commit? Or. a team is proud of a remarkable achievement. etc. will carry out its function in much the same way as a joint commitment to do something together: that is. While the joint commitment is in force. in extreme cases. we face a conceptual problem here. Ann and Bob create obligations concerning their future behaviour. and thus to a purely epistemic phenomenon (a futuredirected belief). here. for a group of people to entertain a collective belief means that the group constitutes a plural subject of believing something. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity given me now. Ann and Bob will be obliged to carry out appropriate actions. for example. The point with collective belief is not what individuals actually believe. Indeed a punishment is more than just a cost imposed to the subject by someone else: it is a cost rightly imposed to the subject by someone else. thus decoupling future actions from possibly fluctuating motivations. But Margaret Gilbert argues that joint commitments are more general: for example. and so on. 20). to reduce deontic normativity to the expectation of punishment. that all men are created equal. none of them) believes that p. for example. it is not important whether Ann or Bob are continually motivated to support each other: the reason for doing so is now an obligation created by the joint commitment. However. you or the society will punish me for breaching the agreement” (p. by creating directed obligations to perform appropriate actions. it is important to understand whether people can create plural subject of feeling something. For example. say.4.194 A. by jointly committing to have a walk together. Consider the following example: by entering a suitable joint commitment. but what are their obligations given their joint commitment to believe something. a stabilising role analogous to that played by future-directed intentions in the case of individual actions. In the “all men are created equal” case. Given the significance of affective states in intersubjectivity. An important feature of Gilbert’s non-summative treatment (see for example [13]. in other words. A joint commitment to believe. because the very concept of a punishment is deontic. Chapter 14) is that a plural subject may collectively believe that p even if not all the parties (indeed. Joint commitments achieve this function by creating directed obligations. Given the joint commitment. and so on. There is an attempt.

or intentional state. Again. it is necessary to understand the relationships between joint commitments and psychological states. intentionally doing something (right now). The idea is that joint attention is best “understood in terms of a joint commitment to attend as a body to some particular in the environment of the parties” (p. According to Gilbert. perceiving something.A. 7). Margaret Gilbert suggested that also joint attention is a plural subject phenomenon [30]. desiring something. a joint commitment to feeling something will carry out its function by creating obligations to perform appropriate actions. beliefs. those intentional states of a subject whose content involves psychological states of other subjects. Indeed. Analogously to the case of collective beliefs. Intentional states are classified as individual or interpersonal. Examples of individual intentional states are intending to do something (in the future). because interpersonality is achieved through representations. the possibility of directly perceiving psychological states of another subject (inclusive of intentional states) is an important tenet of current theories of intersubjectivity (see for example [31]). attentional. but of course the two criminals do not form a plural subject of paying attention to the other and to the gun. the content of a joint commitment may be any affective. Here the term “intentional” is to be understood as a synonym of “representational. in our terminology. As an example of a shared attentional state that involves no joint commitment consider two criminals trying to kill each other and standing a few meters apart. joint attention requires mutual recognition. Carassa et al. is a state that is “out in the open” (to adopt the felicitous expression used by Gilbert to describe situations of common knowledge [13]) but to which there is no joint commitment. by definition. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity 195 or “We are so sorry your house burnt to ashes” reveal that the feeling of pride or sorrow is attributed to a plural subject. the shared state may be affective. and intentional states. desires. attentional. and intentions are all examples of intentional states. attentional. attentional. or intentional. In this situation there is shared attention to the other and to the gun. or intentional state of another subject. Joint commitments thus appear to be a pervasive aspect of intersubjectivity. which in turn presupposes common knowledge of co-presence.” in line with the philosophical theory of intentionality: perceptions. Interpersonal intentional states are. We consider purely affective and attentional states as psychological states of a single individual: a distinction between individual and interpersonal states can be drawn only for intentional states. and so on. From the point of view of a theory of intersubjectivity. a psychological state may be interpersonal by being joint (or collective). Recently. We first classify psychological states into affective. with the only gun at their disposal lying on the ground right between the two of them. The first way is through perception: a subject may directly perceive an affective. Finally. . By this we mean that the relevant subjects are jointly committed to entertaining such a state. As we have already remarked. There are basically three ways in which a psychological state of an individual may become interpersonal. The second way in which a psychological state may become interpersonal is through sharing: a shared state. independently of the fact that the parties actually have the relevant feeling. In Table 1 we propose a systematic view of all such states.

in spite of this. all such types of joint activities involve joint commitments. and cooperation concerns what we could call degree of coupling: while in the case of coordination. goes to Bob’s apartment around 8 pm. however. that is. The difference between coordination. etc. even if their contents will be different for different kinds of joint activities. However. All types of joint activities involve some kind of dependency between the actions performed by the different parties as part of the joint activity. does X (intentionally). The first part of the joint activity. we find a very significant category of intersubjective processes. (as a body) perceived subject A has emotion X subject A attends to object X interpersonal shared joint Table 1. will be at his apartment around 8 pm. Only some intersubjective processes involve shared intentional states. collaboration. . achieved through the collective execution of a common plan. coupling is kept to a minimum. in particular. do X. perceives X. they will separately buy some ready-made food: Ann will get the entrées and the wine. however. etc. when Ann and Bob separately get the food. there is a genuine joint commitment binding Ann and Bob to act as agreed. Suppose for example that Ann and Bob decide to have dinner together at Bob’s apartment at 8 pm. and then has dinner with Ann. etc. As both of them are very busy. that Bob gets the main course. and an even smaller fraction involve joint intentional states. and cooperation. believes X. It is important not to confuse our distinction between shared and joint psychological states with other kinds of distinctions. affective subject A perceives that subject B has emotion X it is out in the open for subjects A and B that one of them (or both of them) has emotion E A and B are jointly committed to have emotion X (as a body) attentional subject A perceives that subject B attends to object X it is out in the open for subjects A and B that one of them (or both of them) attend to object X A and B are jointly committed to attend to object X (as a body) intentional subject A perceives that subject B intends to do X. collaboration.196 affective A. Among these. Carassa et al. typically based on a loosely synchronised execution of individual plans. Ann and Bob are now bound by a joint commitment that generates at least the following obligations: that Ann gets the entrées and the wine. and Bob will take care of the main course. joint activities which. it is out in the open for subjects A and B that one of them (or both of them) intends to do X. A classification of psychological states. like for example the one between coordination. A and B are jointly committed to intend X. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity attentional individual intentional subject A intends to do X. presuppose joint intentions. has a very low degree of coupling. and then has dinner with Bob. desires X. cooperation involves a very high degree of coupling. etc.

agrees with an elderly neighbour of his that he will soon visit her at the hospital. of a violation relative to some individual. This idea may take the following form: “If I do not go to Ann’s cottage next Sunday. Even if Bob changes his idea about the moral obligation of caring after the ill. This. John Searle defends the idea that all deontic relationships can be defined in terms of one primitive.A. Given that joint commitments involve deontic normativity. In our opinion. he will still be obliged. and in some sense of the word we can actually say that he is obliged to sit on the floor and stay still. In any case. however.” What seems to be sufficient to have joint commitments is therefore a concept of directed violation. Carassa et al. In [23]. Bob.. this obligation cannot be considered as a deontic relationship between Bob and the masked criminal. because the deontic relationships produced by a joint commitment appear to be different from moral obligations. developed for the first time by Anderson in the field of deontic logic [32]. entitlements.3 Cognitive requirements A plural subject is a group of people bound by a joint commitment. because he freely committed his will by making an agreement. This means that any being capable of entertaining thoughts of the kind “I am obliged to . like for example obligation. A different approach. While one may dispute whether visiting his neighbour was really a moral obligation of Bob’s. the latter are intentionally created by people.. However. and the like. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity 197 13. no attempt to explain what it takes for a subject to commit to a course of action. There is. rights. it is tempting to consider them as a case of moral thought. . But what kind of psychological states are involved? As we have remarked in Section 2. they have certain psychological states. is to reduce deontic notions like obligation and right to a lower-level concept. Suppose for example that Bob. motivated by his moral conviction that one should care after the ill. suppose again that Ann and Bob agreed that Bob will visit Ann at her summer cottage next Sunday. that is. however. there is no doubt that after promising Bob is obliged to do so. may not prove a fruitful approach. together with a group of clients of the local branch of his bank. a major difference between moral obligations and the obligations of joint commitments is that. many authors agree that some form of commitment is essential at least for the most complex types of joint activity. it is clear that the ability to enter into joint commitments presupposes the ability to understand obligations. then I make a violation to Ann. like violation. Bob knows that something bad will happen if he tries to escape. In turn. like beliefs and intentions. To understand this idea. is caught in a robbery and is ordered by a masked guy to sit on the floor and stay still.” would be able to represent all deontic relationships. Chapter 11). Being obliged to do X is more than just expecting that if one does not do X something bad will happen. the members of the group are bound by a joint commitment if. To clarify the difference. and only if. suppose that Bob. in particular. We believe that such ideas cannot be reduced to non-deontic psychological states. who proposes to understand the obligations of joint commitments in terms of “owing” (see [15]. contrary to the former.4. is now obliged to Ann to go to Ann’s cottage next Sunday. The problem of finding suitable primitives to which all deontic ideas can be reduced has long be considered in such fields as the philosophy of law and deontic logic. A different approach is taken by Margaret Gilbert.

rather than testing whether children are able to engage in joint commitments in first person. Carassa et al. Often. further research is needed before we have a clear picture of the ontogeny of joint commitment.” even if they do not yet possess. . Recently Maria Gräfenhain and colleagues [36] reported on an experiment aimed to identify the presence of joint commitments in social play contexts. 13. on which more complex aspects of social cognition are based. test the children’s ability to reason on third-person situations of joint commitments. But it may also be the other way round: the concept of owing may be a psychological primitive. Since the publication of Kohlberg’s pioneering paper on moral stages [33]. symmetrically. Whether joint commitments are based on a primitive notion of directed violation. a life cycle.4 The life cycle of plural subjects As everything on earth. It may indeed be the case that the concept of owing can be reduced to the more primitive notion of violation we have previously introduced. or an a primitive notion of owing.198 A.4. For example. the joint commitment that constitutes a plural subject may be created through an explicit agreement or may come to exist as an implicit consequence of the parties’ interaction. plural subjects have a beginning. This kind of experiments.e. and found that even children of about three years of age were able to correctly detect situations of agreement violation. a period of life. Of course. the readiness to engage in the common enterprise will mature through a more or less lengthy phase of negotiation. In any case. every party owes certain actions to the other parties. the actions that are owed to them. common knowledge) that all members of the group are ready to engage in some common enterprise. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity The general idea is that once a joint commitment has been created. it would be extremely interesting to discover at what age human beings are capable of building the relevant representations. 35]) suggest that certain fundamental social abilities show up considerably earlier. but situations of joint commitment have not been a primary concern. we think that only empirical research may settle this issue. though. recent literature on the early development of sociality (like [18. However. Moreover. at a dancing party two persons may just start dancing together without prior agreement: the joint activity they engage in will imply a joint commitment to dance together at least for a while. Describing all possible life cycles of plural subjects is beyond the scope of this article. all parties “own. and are clearly established by three years of age. As we have already remarked in Section 2. due to the cognitive complexity of the experimental task. 22. much research has been carried out on the development of moral reasoning. Margaret Gilbert suggests that the necessary and sufficient condition for a group of people to form a plural subject is that it is out in the open (i. and an end – that is. such experiments can be run only on children of at least three years of age. Monika Keller and colleagues [34] reported on some experiments in which children were asked to reason on situations in which an agreement between a child and his mother was either fulfilled or violated. The preliminary results show that the deontic implications of joint commitment begin to emerge at two years. In what follows we shall just sketch a few important points..

In other cases the deadline will be only vaguely defined. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity 199 A plural subject exists as long as the underlying joint commitment is in force. the underlying joint commitment will have a well-defined deadline: consider for example the joint commitment of moving a table together. in case Ann is not at her cottage next Sunday. a violation by one of them is sufficient to wipe out the joint commitment. if Ann and Bob agreed that Bob will visit Ann at her summer cottage next Sunday. sooner or later the parties will start negotiating the end of the common enterprise. During this period the parties of the plural subject are bound by a network of deontic relationships. Carassa et al. Bob has the derivative entitlement to rebut. and entitlements) among these subjects. or. and we shall not try to deal with it here.5 Conclusions In this article we have argued that joint activities involve a particular form of deontic normativity. I have to dress up for dinner. Bob has the correlative right to Ann that Ann be at her summer cottage next Sunday. rights. Intuitively. consider the joint commitment of going for a walk together: given that “a walk” is a vague concept. entitlements. For example. 13. As an example. and so on. she has the derivative obligation to tell Bob and to provide a suitable justification. and generate deontic relationships (directed obligations. joint commitments play an essential role in stabilising interaction. the deontic normativity of joint commitments appears to be distinct from moral . Joint commitments arise when a number of subjects make it overt that they are ready to engage in a common enterprise. if after their agreement Ann discovers it will be impossible for her to be at her summer cottage next Sunday. and consequently the termination of the joint commitment will require some form of explicit or implicit negotiation. thus freeing the other party of all obligations. The derivative deontic relationships concern the management of the joint commitment in the face of violations by the parties of the plural subject. The basic deontic relationships are the directed obligations. and so on that are directly related to carrying out the common enterprise. Such deontic relationships may be classified into two classes: basic and derivative. which terminates when the action is completed. In some cases. With more than two parties the situation is more complex. In the case of two parties.” A plural subject may also come to an end due to a violation by one of the parties. By creating such deontic relationships.A. A plural subject may come to an end in many different ways. for example by saying “I start feeling tired now” or “I’m afraid I have to go back now. which is particularly relevant to anticipatory planning. that following Margaret Gilbert we call joint commitment. Below we mention some issues that seem to us to be important. then Ann is obliged to Bob to be at her summer cottage next Sunday. More work needs to be done before we can form a satisfactory picture of the deontic normativity of joint commitments as part of the general phenomenon of human intersubjectivity. rights. we think that the relationship between joint commitments and moral obligations is in need of clarification. For example. At the theoretical level. Bob is entitled to go to Ann’s summer cottage next Sunday. produced by the joint commitment in a context-dependent way.

Petersson. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Carpenter. Gilbert. 2004. due to brain injuries or neurological disorders. The shared mind: Perspectives on . may contribute to our understanding of the development of sociality. 2000. Århem (Eds.se/sedsu/publications/2006Gardenfors-EvolIntersubj.se/hommageawlodek. Online: http://www. On social facts. Living together: Rationality. Co-operation and communication in apes and humans. Consciousness transitions: Phylogenetic.pdf. Carassa et al. Josefsson & D. research on the ontogenesis of joint commitment. Behne & H. First. [5] P. [2] M. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. 2005. 1989. influence the human capacity to engage in joint commitments. Hurley & N. considering results in the light of the available literature on moral development may help to understand the relationships between the normativity of commitments and moral normativity. The cognitive and communicative demands of cooperation. B. Second. [11] D. Hurley & N. MA: MIT Press. sociality. Hommage à Wlodek: Philosophical papers dedicated to Wlodek Rabinowicz. the analysis of adult interactions may clarify important aspects of the life-cycle of plural subjects and the relationships between joint commitments and what we have called the degree of coupling of collective activities. Tomasello. Gärdenfors.). London and New York: Routledge. [10] S. J. fil. 2003. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Berlin: Mouton. Zlatev. In H. moreover. Itkonen (Eds). A theory of political obligation.htm. Communication and cooperation in early infancy: A description of primary intersubjectivity. M. 1979.iep. Chater (Eds). 2006. 2007. Perspectives on imitation: From neuroscience to social science. J. and what are the relationships between commitment and morality is still unclear. Before speech: The beginning of interpersonal communication. [15] M. 2. ontogenetic and physiological aspects. Online: http://project. there seems to be at least four areas in which it would be interesting to carry out experimental work. Stern. [8] S.). Sociality and responsibility: New essays in plural subjet theory. (pp. Hampe (Ed.). How the body shapes the mind. Cambridge.). In J. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Gilbert. RønnowRasmussen.sol. MA: MIT Press. In T. 313–342). 675–735. C. Collective intentionality. 28. [9] S. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.lu. Racine. Egonsson (Eds. Finally. [14] M. [6] I. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Call. New York: Oxford University Press. [13] M. 1985. However. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.. [17] I. 2007. In M. At the empirical level. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Brinck. T. Gärdenfors. 2005. Bullowa (Ed. to appear. The role of intersubjectivity for the development of intentional communication. (pp. T. Third. Chater (Eds). / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity normativity. 321–347). Gallagher. Bråten (Ed). Moll. the analysis of narratives may shed light on the affective side and on the first-person perspectives of joint commitment. [4] P. what this difference exactly amounts to. [12] M. Understanding and sharing intentions: The origins of human cognition. The interpersonal world of the infant. 1996. In B. Trevarthen. 18. Evolutionary and developmental aspects of intersubjectivity.edu/c/coll-int. it would be interesting to find out how certain types of cognitive and/or relational disorders. On being moved: From mirror neurons to empathy. [3] S. Sinha & E. Mind & Language. 2005. Gilbert. From perception to meaning: Image schemas in cognitive linguistics. What’s in a schema? Bodily mimesis and the grounding of language. Zlatev. Liljenström & P. 484–501.6 References [1] C. N. Gilbert. and obligation. 2005. Online: http://www. Perspectives on imitation: From cognitive neuroscience to social science.utm. 13. [16] D. Gärdenfors. [7] J. New York: Basic Books.200 A. Cambridge. Brink & P. Tollefsen.lu. which as we have seen has already started.

(pp. J. 2004. Norwood: Ablex. Dunin-Kepliz & R. Special issue on “Conventionality. 1976. (pp. Hamblin. 1970. 1995. to appear. Rinehart & Winston. Carpenter & M. Tomasello & H. What makes human cognition unique? From individual to shared to collective intentionality. research. J. Egonsson (Eds. 2003. M. The construction of social reality. N. Fallacies. Racine. Cognitive Systems Research. 21.pdf M. Searle.). J. Gummerum. M. 67. Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. common knowledge.-T. Searle. & S. 2007.A. and the development of collective intentionality. 1958. and social issues. M. In T. 2007. / The Role of Joint Commitment in Intersubjectivity 201 [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] intersubjectivity. R. H. 15–48). B. Mind & Language. L. meaning. Intentionality: An essay in the philosophy of mind. . Petersson. 1969. Gilbert. 75.de/~rakoczy/texte/ rakoczy_2007_pretense_conventions. plans. What is language: Some preliminary remarks. lu. Verbrugge. 2007. March 26– April 1. E.).eva.mpg. M. Understanding others through primary interaction and narrative practice. In T. A tuning machine for cooperative problem solving. Behne. In M. Young children’s understanding of joint action and joint commitment in social play contexts. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. L. 100–103. 18.edu/ ~gallaghr/gall&Hutto07. Tsohatzidis. Rakoczy. Understanding computers and cognition: A new foundation for design. 121–147. Hutto. J.cc.fil. C. Searle. Rakoczy. Lund: Lund University Cognitive Studies 2. Moral development and behavior: theory. Mutual recognition. D. C. 1983. The shared mind: Perspectives on intersubjectivity.doc M.” to appear. New York: Free Press. A. T. MA: Harvard University Press. Kalish (Eds. Josefsson & D. Flores. Online: http://www. New directions in child and adolescent development. Albany: State University of New York Press. Zlatev.se/hommageawlodek. John Searle’s philosophy of language: Force. Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. and practical reason. B. New York: Holt. W. Tomasello.se/ publicationfiles/pp103. Commitment in dialogue: Basic concepts of interpersonal reasoning. Online: http://email. 614– 635. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. J. 1987. Cambridge. C. Sabbagh & C. 7. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Searle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fundamenta Informatica. Online: http://www. Bratman. T. The planning of action as a cognitive and biological phenomenon. Play. T. Understanding perspectives and emotions in contract violation: Development of deontic and moral reasoning. Lindsay. Gulz. Anderson. Sinha & E. Intention. Krabbe. games. 1991. 2001. London: Methuen. Carassa et al. Poster presented at the 2007 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). A reduction of deontic logic to alethic modal logic. Hommage à Wlodek: Philosophical papers dedicated to Wlodek Rabinowicz. Moral stages and moralization: The cognitive developmental approach. X.ucf. Lickona (Ed. Kohlberg. In J. H.). Gräfenhain. Gallagher & D. Itkonen (Eds). 1001–1025. R. and mind. M. R. R.pdf A. and joint attention. 1995. to appear. Winograd & F. S. 1986. Pretend play and the development of collective intentionality. Child Development. R. 113–127. In S. 2006. 31–53).lu. Wang. Online: http://pegasus. Keller. fil. RønnowRasmussen. Rakoczy. Boston (MA). L. Walton & E.

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SECTION IV ENACTING INTERSUBJECTIVITY One little cat in the corner. Watching the stars twinkle bright. Washing her cute little face. 'Cats' snuggle close and fall asleep during slower musical interlude). 'Cats' frolic and play during musical interlude). Five little cats say goodnight! (Four 'cats' sit on floor. One little cat comes to catch her. Two little cats in the corner. Two 'cats' chase each other during musical interlude). Third 'cat' joins in on third line. One cat comes up from the cellar. Three little cats on the doorstep. 2002 . Fifth 'cat' joins in on third line. Two little cats run a race! (One 'cat' sits on floor. Fourth 'cat' joins in on third line. One cat jumps out of the basket. Four little cats by the window. Trying to round up a mouse! One cat comes in from the barnyard. Jessie Norton – Counting Kitties. Second 'cat' joins in on third line. Three little cats in the house! (Two 'cats' sit on floor. Warming themselves in the sun. 'Cats' frolic and play during musical interlude). Four little cats having fun! (Three 'cats' sit on floor.

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......Enacting Intersubjectivity F..............3 14................................................................ adjusting the timing of one’s movements in order to maintain synchrony in the face of tempo changes and other........................................ not by virtue of its precision chorusing crickets and frogs are masterfully coordinated [1] but rather due to the flexibility with which it is rendered...................... involves dividing attention between one’s own actions (high priority) and those of others (lower priority) while monitoring the overall.......... Human synchronization is a creative affair................9 Introduction.....4 14.................... 217 References. Morganti et al............... it can result in a seemingly infinite number of temporal structures (by coordinating rhythms with varying levels of complexity). The first process is auditory imagery....................... This type of synchrony is unique to humans. & adaptive timing ....................... shoulders. 212 Relations between imagery.... prioritized integrative attention.......... 214 Conclusions.............. The way in which these processes interact to determine ensemble coordination is discussed.......................... feet............................6 14.............) IOS Press........................... and it is characterized by rapid adaptation to tempo changes in familiar and unfamiliar ................ 206 Anticipatory auditory imagery ...... 218 14.....e.. temporally precise inter-individual synchronization can be observed among instrumentalists and dancers.. and heads)....... 205 14 Joint Action in Music Performance Peter E.. and between performers and audience members.......................... The ensemble cohesion that results is predicated upon group members sharing a common goal.................. i......................1 14........... 2008 © 2008 The authors.. (Eds...... It can be achieved through the use of different effectors (such as hands...2 14.7 14.. 217 Acknowledgements .... often unpredictable...................... The second process......1 Introduction In musical contexts within all known cultures and most echelons of society therein.......8 14.... The current chapter reviews research addressing three cognitive processes that enable individuals to realize such shared goals while engaged in musical joint action. hips................. integrated ensemble sound...................................... Contents 14....... The third process relates to adaptive timing... All rights reserved. a unified concept of the ideal sound... attention....... Ensemble musicians coordinate their actions with remarkable precision................... KELLER Abstract.......5 14...... 205 Ensemble cohesion & shared goals ............................. 210 Adapting to others’ action timing ....................... 207 Prioritized integrative attention.......... specifically.......................... events............ anticipating one’s own sounds and the sounds produced by other performers..

highly embodied. The term ‘ensemble cohesion’ refers to how well separate instrumental parts gel together to form such an auditory Gestalt.e. the focus here will be on music performance by trained individuals. but also of mental states.206 P. when dancing to the music of a foreign culture). However. This chapter begins by discussing ensemble cohesion and shared musical goals. prioritized integrative attention (a form of divided attention). The formation of shared musical goals may be grounded in the automatic tendency for people engaged in joint action to develop mental representations of each others’ tasks [6]. musical activity involving more than one participant.2 Ensemble cohesion & shared goals Ensemble musicians usually aim to interact in a manner that is conducive to producing a coherent musical entity. which are rooted in cognitive processes that most likely facilitate joint action more generally [5. or more covert such as in listening. Nowadays people even engage in musical synchronization via the Internet [2]. . that is. and adaptive timing. This interactive form of enaction requires each performer to be sensitive to the subjective states expressed by his or her co-performers. Ensemble cohesion is predicated upon the musicians sharing a common performance goal. Ideally. These core ensemble skills. and then goes on to describe research addressing three specific ensemble skills that are assumed to enable performers to achieve such goals. it is assumed here that additional effort is required in the case of musical joint action. performers intentionally and actively participate in making sense of the music so that its ‘meaning’ is shared among co-performers and communicated to audience members. 6]. and usually ‘makebelieve’ (in the sense that a musician does not need to be sad to play mournfully). Musical joint action therefore exercises the human predisposition for intersubjectivity [4] on grounds where meaning is essentially ineffable. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance musical styles (for example. In musical ensembles. i. a unified conception of the ideal sound. Consider a pair of pianists playing a duet. affective exchanges that are mediated by instrumental sounds and expressive body gestures.. New data from a piano duet study will be introduced for illustrative purposes at this later stage.E. the pianists must hold a common goal. performers engage in mutually coupled. Thus. The current chapter is concerned with the cognitive processes that enable humans to coordinate their actions with the remarkable precision and flexibility that can be observed during musical joint action. are anticipatory auditory imagery. The chapter ends by considering how these ensemble skills interact to determine the quality of ensemble cohesion during musical joint action. How do they coordinate their actions with sufficient precision to produce complex sound patterns that far from being mechanically regular are exquisitely and purposefully structured in time? The ability to synchronize in this way obviously relies upon considerations apart from the technical command of one’s instrument. a shared representation of the ideal sound. Although these processes are most likely recruited to some degree regardless of whether the activity is clearly overt such as in instrumental performance and dancing. 14. in accordance with enactive approaches to social cognition [3]. the entrainment underlying such activity should not only result in the coordination of sounds and movements. To produce a cohesive ensemble sound.

social stereotypes can determine how the opinions of various instrumentalists are weighted (soloists or those playing ‘melodic’ instruments often seem to have the last word). For example. During collaborative rehearsal. the formation of performance goals is governed by a mixture of social. which are the norm in Western art music. goals are more highly resolved and consequently have less degrees of freedom in scripted music than in improvised music [7]).. In any case. Performance goals must be realized (via the execution of performance plans) under the real-time demands and vagaries of live musical interaction. It is assumed here that these forms of anticipation involve mixtures of auditory and motor imagery. to autocratic regimes where a conductor is expected to impregnate an entire orchestra with his or her performance goal. listening to recordings. 17]). are established while preparing a musical piece for performance through both individual private practice (a mixture of playing one’s instrument. and biases that result from individual differences in stylistic preference and the fact that each musician envisages the overall sound from the unique perspective of his or her individual performance plan.g. prioritized integrative attention. It seems reasonable to assume that ensemble cohesion will vary according to how well performance goals related to the overall sound are matched across ensemble members. and the size of the group can determine how leadership is distributed among ensemble members ranging from egalitarian piano duos. It is through the generation of auditory and motor images that musicians activate internal representations of performance goals and plans.E. musicians develop performance plans (usually during private practice) that guide the motor processes involved in translating the goal representations into appropriate body movements [12-15]. and that such topdown anticipatory processes coevolve with bottom-up expectancies generated on the basis of the perception of actual sounds (see [16. and adaptive timing—are considered next in turn. through democratic mixed chamber groups. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance 207 The richness and specificity of performance goals vary as a function of the musical context (e. Performance goals embody a performer’s intentions and expectations about how his or her own sound and the overall ensemble sound should be shaped dynamically over time. though. factors such as personality can influence communication among group members.P. and studying musical scores) and collaborative rehearsal with other group members. the degree to which goal representations are shared is not the only determinant of ensemble cohesion. 14. Highly specific performance goals. the auditory component is most likely paramount in the performer’s . With such goals in mind. Three ensemble skills that are purported to enable performers to accomplish this—anticipatory auditory imagery. conventional. and pragmatic considerations [8-11].3 Anticipatory auditory imagery Ensemble performance requires each musician to anticipate his or her sounds and the sounds produced by other musicians. While engaged in such imagery. Importantly. once performance goals are established. Factors that may compromise the quality of this match include difficulties associated with memorizing the details of complex musical textures. they reside in memory as idealized mental representations of the sounds constituting the musical piece.

and hearing a tone with particular qualities). of course) [18]. The typical degree of asynchrony in musical ensembles (around 30-50 ms [28. The task of coordinating the anticipatory auditory images required to guide one’s own actions and simultaneously predict the outcomes of others’ actions may be accomplished by multiple. he probably required a considerable amount of practice before being able to conjure such thoughts accurately and reliably. This process was investigated recently in a study of piano duet performance [30]. A distinction has been drawn between ‘forward’ and ‘inverse’ internal models in the field of movement neuroscience [31]. Both types of model are capable of learning to represent transformations between motor commands and sensory events based on experience with specific sensorimotor contingencies (e. the command to lower a finger in a particular manner. feeling the finger move against a piano key. This was indeed the case: Pianists were more accurate at synchronizing with their own recordings than with others’ recordings. ensemble musicians make predictions about events in other parts by using auditory imagery to simulate the ongoing productions of their co-performers. exactly when and how they will do it. Indeed. it is necessary for him to predict what they will do. tightly coupled internal models instantiated in the central nervous system.. For James’ singer to coordinate with his fellow choristers. by stabilizing motor control processes [25. Expert pianists were required to record one part from several unfamiliar piano duets. 29]) is far smaller than would be expected if musicians were sheepishly reacting to the sounds of an individual serving as the leader. 26]. The degree to which performers engage in anticipatory auditory imagery during such planning increases with increasing musical experience [27]. anticipatory auditory imagery may facilitate rapid performance by enabling thorough action preplanning. auditory imagery may assist performers in meeting precise temporal goals. It was assumed that pianists would be able to simulate upcoming events best in their own recordings because in this case the simulation is being carried out by the same cognitive/motor system with all its idiosyncratic constraints that generated the events in the first place.g. a singer needs to think “only of the perfect sound” in order to produce it ([19] p. Anticipatory auditory imagery can facilitate the accurate performance of one’s own part in at least three ways. 774). although James’ singer needed only to think of the ideal sound in order to produce it. Thus. Third. The cerebellum has been identified as a likely seat of such learning [32]. and. This notion sits comfortably with the ideo-motor approach to voluntary action. In case excessive private practice has made James’ singer lonely. The central tenet of the ideo-motor approach is that actions are triggered automatically by the anticipation of their intended distal effects [19. As William James pointed out. such as a steady tempo.208 P. First. accomplished musicians often express the opinion that greater performance excellence can be attained by imagining the ideal sound than by concentrating on motor aspects of performance (once the requisite technical skills have been acquired. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance phenomenology: It is what an individual has in mind while playing. Second. The . let us place him in a choir. and then to play the complementary part in time with either their own or others’ recordings after a delay of several months. 20].E. even more crucially. such imagery may prime appropriate movements via functional links between auditory and motor brain regions that have developed through experience playing a musical instrument [21-24]. Instead.

Hence. Forward models may recruit the so-called ‘mirror system’ to some degree in doing so. Indeed. Forward models of one’s own performance presumably represent information about the specific movements associated with manipulating a particular musical instrument. Musical joint action may capitalize on both of the above functions of forward models. moreover. When used to guide one’s own actions. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance 209 difference between forward and inverse models lies in the direction of the sensorimotor transformation. forward models representing one’s own performance promote stable motor control by allowing movement errors to be corrected on the basis of anticipated auditory feedback while forward models representing the actions of one’s co-performer(s) assist in predicting the ‘what. Ricarda Schubotz [42] has proposed that forward models run rudimentary simulations based on partial sensorimotor information when an observer is not capable of producing a perceived event sequence.P.g. instrument-independent forms of body motion (e. rocking. and. and expressive gesturing) as well as vocal and articulatory activity that could potentially approximate others’ sounds. it has been claimed that forward models allow the observer to simulate another individual’s behavior and thereby predict its future course [33. and how’ of upcoming auditory synchronization targets. Inverse models sit opposite forward models. the movement-related information represented by forward models of others’ musical performances may be limited to relatively general. they represent sensorimotor transformations from desired action outcomes to the motor commands that give rise to these outcomes [32]. The main difference between these two proposed classes of forward model lies in the nature of the efferent motor signals and tactile and proprioceptive feedback that they represent. musicians in mixed ensembles readily synchronize with instruments that they cannot themselves play (which may have implications for the nature of the mirror system’s involvement in musical joint action). vocal and articulatory loops in the lateral premotor cortex are engaged when predicting upcoming events in sequences whose structural properties are represented best in terms of musical parameters such as rhythm and pitch. In the context of action observation. swaying. On this view. When playing music.E. Forward models have been ascribed roles in controlling one’s own actions and in perceiving and understanding the actions of others. forward models facilitate the efficiency of motor control processes by allowing movement errors to be corrected on the basis of predicted sensory feedback prior to the arrival of actual feedback [31]. 34].. the frontal-parietal mirror system has been heralded as a key brain network mediating social interaction [35-38]. whereas forward models of others’ performances do not necessarily represent such specific movement-related information. On the basis of findings that similar premotor cortical activation patterns arise when an individual carries out an action and when the individual sees and/or hears somebody else performing the action. It has recently been shown that the mirror system resonates most strongly with actions that belong to the observer’s own behavioral repertoire while listening to music or viewing dance [39-41]. Consistent with this notion. Traditionally. the process . when. Forward models represent the causal relationship between efferent motor signals which issue from the supplementary motor area (SMA) to the primary motor cortex and their ultimate effects on the body and the environment.

210 P. paired forward and inverse models that support motor learning and control in the context of one’s own actions may. when the pianist assigned to the ‘secondo’ part in a duo may be required to play less loudly than the pianist playing the ‘primo’ part. The main distinction between these two classes is that inverse models representing one’s own part are associated with rehearsed performance plans endowed with the power to trigger instrument-specific motor commands. where ‘other’ inverse models provide input to ‘other’ forward models. Such paired internal models are featured in MOSAIC-based models of social interaction [46]. In this case. The availability of such feedback is modulated by attention. individual musicians are not only responsible for producing their own parts . and thereby influence predictions about upcoming likely states in one’s co-actors. Paired forward-inverse models of others’ parts would also be useful in the context of music because they would allow one performer to imagine another’s style of playing in his or her absence. In ensembles. be coupled with a second class of paired forward-inverse models specializing in anticipating others’ sounds. To function properly during musical joint action. as is presumably done during private practice geared towards preparing for an ensemble performance. the correct performance of one’s own part is usually defined in terms of the relation between one’s part and other parts. as.4 Prioritized integrative attention There is usually a lot to contend with during musical joint action. Thus.E. appropriate motor commands for action are transmitted from the SMA to the primary motor cortex only on the basis of information from inverse models related to one’s own part. and the other dealing with particular parts played by co-performers or the whole ensemble texture (depending on structural aspects of. Nevertheless. Pairing inverse models of others’ performances with corresponding forward models would facilitate efficient motor control by allowing corrections to be made on the basis of the anticipated relation between parts rather than in response to the perception of actual discrepancies between one’s own and others’ actions. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance of activating performance goal representations via auditory imagery can be considered to be akin to running inverse models. the music). in the case of musical joint action. the inverse model for the secondo pianist’s own part requires access to an inverse model representing the primo part in order to suggest motor commands that result in less forceful movements (hence softer sounds) than those being executed by the primo pianist. the entire system of internal models would naturally need to be kept in tune with changes in the auditory scene via actual sensory feedback. one dealing with the performance of one’s own part. whereas inverse models representing other instrumental parts (or whole textures) are impotent in this regard. It is assumed here that as with forward models musical joint action recruits two classes of inverse model. Although the generation of auditory images is mediated in both cases by a motor-related brain network incorporating the SMA and premotor cortex (in conjunction with the secondary auditory cortex) [43-45]. 14. for example. and familiarity with. inverse models representing others’ parts are not superfluous because without them the intended relation between parts—which musicians invest much time in learning—would be lost. Indeed.

stronger than its neighbors. Support for the hypothesis that metric frameworks play a role in prioritized integrative attention comes from studies designed to capture the cognitive and motor demands of ensemble performance using perception. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance 211 correctly. Analogous results were obtained in a ‘rhythmic canon’ study that required percussionists to produce memorized rhythm patterns while listening to different patterns. For instance. 51] and ideas related to Daniel Kahneman’s [52] conception of fluctuations in autonomic arousal has led to the proposal that metric frameworks may drive prioritized integrative attention during musical joint action [48]. March. with every nth event perceived to be accented. Metric frameworks are cognitive/motor schemas that comprise hierarchically arranged levels of pulsation. i.E.e. or 4:1 (quadruple) [53]. the performance goal) and incoming perceptual information about the actual sound. musicians were required simultaneously to memorize a target (high priority) part and the overall aggregate structure (resulting from the combination of parts) of short percussion duets. 48].e. but they must also maintain awareness of the relationship between their parts and parts played by others. A confluence of Mari Riess Jones’ dynamic attending theory [50. Prioritized integrative attention can be conceptualized as a hybrid mode of attention that occupies the middle ground of a continuum between two pure . 55]. triple. in a listening task [54]. which also had to be subsequently reproduced. 3:1 (triple)..P. Prioritized integrative attention involves dividing attention between one’s own actions (high priority) and those of others (lower priority) while monitoring the overall ensemble sound. This attentional strategy is assumed to facilitate ensemble cohesion by allowing musicians to adjust their performances based on the online comparison of mental representations of the ideal sound (i. Recognition memory for both aspects of each duet was found to be influenced by how well the target part and the aggregate structure could be accommodated within the same metric framework. and quadruple. respectively.and production-based behavioral tasks. waltz. and salsa music support different types of rhythmic movement coordination partly because each best fits within a different metric framework: duple. In ensemble performance. Prioritized integrative attention is related to the social cognitive concept of ‘joint attention’ [49] to the extent that multiple performers attend consensually to the overall ensemble sound or to a common subset of sounds (such as when musicians playing accompanimental roles pay attention to a soloist). It has been argued that prioritized integrative attention is the optimal strategy to meet such multiple-task demands [47. Metric pulsations are experienced as regular series of internal events. 54. Metric resource allocation schemes could thus promote ensemble cohesion by allowing performers to use a common attentional template to accommodate the different surface details of their individual parts. with pulses at the ‘beat level’ nested within those at the ‘bar level’ in simple n:1 integer ratios such as 2:1 (duple meter). Metric frameworks facilitate rhythmic perception and action by encouraging listeners and performers to allocate their attentional resources in accordance with periodicities underlying the music’s temporal structure [51. metric frameworks may modulate the amount of attention that is available at a particular point in time (via arousal mechanisms) and the amount of attention that is actually invested at this time (via dynamic attending processes) in a manner that is conducive to the flexibility required to integrate information from different sources while tending to a high priority part [48]..

The degree to which prioritized integrative attending skills generalize to other forms of joint action is presently unknown.e. Neuroimaging studies have found that manipulations of attentional strategy in the context of multipart musical listening influence activity in frontal-parietal (including the SMA/pre-SMA and premotor cortex) and temporal regions implicated in attention.. Oscillatory brain activity that is consistent with metric hierarchies has been detected using electrophysiological techniques with high temporal resolution [71]. timekeeper . premotor regions. and balance (relative loudness). Although issues concerning the instantiation of timekeepers in the brain are far from settled [63]. Selective and nonprioritized integrative attention. Ensemble performance may require individuals to roam the middle ground of the selective-integrative attention continuum to deal with changes in the momentary demands of their own parts and the structural relationship between their own and others’ parts in terms of musical parameters such pitch. timbre (instrumental tone color). 14. 60]. in addition to standard divided attention (which involves focusing on all parts without necessarily gauging the relation between them)..212 P. The former involves focusing on one instrumental or vocal part to the exclusion of others. the superior temporal gyrus. To satisfy this requirement. the basal ganglia. whereas the latter involves focusing on the aggregate structure that emerges when all parts are combined with equal weight.E. interval generators [61] or oscillatory processes [62] that control the temporal aspects of perception and action. Such adaptive timing requires flexible internal timekeepers. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance modes: selective attention and ‘nonprioritized’ integrative attention. i. large-scale tempo changes. the thalamus. Indeed. have been investigated in a number of studies relevant to multipart musical listening. individuals must constantly adjust the timing of their movements in order to maintain synchrony in the face of expressively motivated deviations in local tempo (rubato).g. To enable the production of the non-isochronous rhythms that characterize music. In musical contexts. and the cerebellum [64-70]. Considerable attentional skill may be required to overcome such bottom-up perceptual grouping constraints while engaged in musical joint action.5 Adapting to others’ action timing The most fundamental requirement of performance-based musical joint action is the temporal coordination of one’s own movements and sounds with those of others. steadily accumulating evidence points towards the involvement of distributed neural circuits comprising motor. The results of these studies suggest that the structural relationship between parts can affect the deployment of attention even when this relationship is not directly relevant to the task at hand (e.and imagery-related areas including the SMA/preSMA. proficiency in the use of metric frameworks to guide prioritized integrative attention may be a hallmark of expert ensemble performers and listeners. and other often unpredictable events. The cerebellum may contribute to such oscillatory patterns by entraining the firing rates of neural populations in segregated cortical areas [72]. rhythm. the pulsations associated with metric frameworks are driven by hierarchically arranged timekeepers. working memory. detecting specific target sounds in one or more parts) [56-58]. although the notion seems plausible. and motor imagery across a variety of domains [59.

which highlights its importance in musical synchronization. Musical joint action requires timekeepers in separate individuals to be synchronized. To the extent that these . whereas period correction requires conscious awareness and attention [83. Analyses of the humans’ behavior under these conditions suggested that they engaged in fairly constant. Finally. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance 213 networks may recruit prefrontal brain regions that have been implicated in working memory and attention [73. the humans engaged in more vigorous phase correction. which refers to an adjustment of the duration of the timekeeper interval or oscillator period. on the other hand. 84]. Phase correction. 74].. with one another. During musical joint action. there is evidence that asynchronies facilitate.. ensemble cohesion may vary as a function of the sensitivity of ensemble members to each other’s use of error correction. When the computer was uncooperative. 76]. 81] for comprehensive reviews by Bruno Repp). and comparative observations have led to the claim that non-human animals who display group synchrony are only capable of phase correction [88]. and therefore was able to maintain its own stable tempo). In a recent study [92]. neuroscientific work suggests that phase correction is primarily a cerebellar function while period correction calls upon an additional corticothalamic network that includes the basal ganglia and prefrontal regions [73. Such coupling is achieved via error correction processes that adjust each individual’s timekeeper(s) based on discrepancies between the timing of the individual’s actions and those of his or her co-performers. which appeared to be supplemented by intermittent period correction in some situations (most notably when the computer did not implement period correction. that the resultant asynchronies should not be viewed in a negative light. and the distinction between the two processes is supported by findings in various fields. which refers to an adjustment to the way in which the sequence of pulses generated by one timekeeper is aligned against the sequence of pulses generated by another timekeeper. The results of developmental research suggest that full functionality emerges earlier for phase correction than for period correction in human ontogeny [86. finger taps) in time with computer-controlled pacing sequences (see [80. 87]. Music sounds dull without them. Detailed theoretical models of phase and period correction have been developed [77-79]. Period correction is required only when there is an obvious change in tempo. covert attentional entrainment and overt movement coordination in musical contexts [55. Note. aimed at reducing asynchronies) or uncooperative (aimed at increasing asynchronies). moderate amounts of phase correction so long as the computer was cooperative. however.g. somewhat paradoxically. or coupled. 75. Relevant behavioral research has typically employed experimental paradigms that require isolated individuals to produce movements (e. is needed constantly because timing discrepancies are inevitable. Moreover. Two independent error correction processes subserve adaptive timing: Period correction. 89-91]. musically trained individuals were required to synchronize finger taps with auditory sequences presented by a computer that was programmed to implement varying degrees of error correction in a manner that was either cooperative (i.P.E.e. Such studies have yielded results indicating that phase correction takes place automatically (at least at tempi faster than about 60 beats per minute [82]). and phase correction. rather than interfere with. Phase correction is more effective with auditory than with visual sequences [85].

103]. when tapping alternately in time with an external beat sequence [101]. inroads have been made into the realm of real. These differences . In a study that required antiphase (off-beat) coordination with an external beat sequence [93]. the dynamics of interpersonal coordination (e. In the music domain.g. the results of a new study that investigated how the mechanisms underlying these three ensemble skills interact to determine coordination in piano duos are briefly reported.. it was found that musicians were able to counteract the compelling tendency to fall onto the beat by engaging in regular phase resetting based on metric structure (which was induced either by physical accents in the pacing sequence or by the instruction to imagine such accents when they were in fact absent). & adaptive timing Anticipatory auditory imagery. the performer has the option of intentionally increasing the gain of phase correction and/or engaging strategically in intermittent period correction. Analyses of the pianists’ movements revealed that anterior-posterior body sway was more strongly correlated in some pairs than in others. Related work addressing the impact of social and developmental factors on interpersonal synchronization is also underway [102.214 P.E. and adaptive timing must act together in concert rather than in isolation during musical joint action. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance findings generalize to ensemble performance. The body movements of seven pairs of expert pianists were recorded using a motion capture system while they performed unfamiliar duets on a pair of MIDI pianos. Intriguing electrophysiological work in this vein has revealed that oscillatory neural activity in the mirror system distinguishes between whether or not two peoples’ rhythmic finger movements are coordinated when in visual contact [99]. Preliminary results from one such study suggest that each individual from a pair compensates for timing errors produced by their partner. In this section. or the music itself. Although most research that is relevant to adaptive timing during musical joint action has been conducted using paradigms involving isolated individuals moving in synchrony with computer-controlled sequences. prioritized integrative attention. Such mutual error correction could serve to make multiple ensemble performers sound as one. are unfamiliar. temporally precise interpersonal coordination. during conversation) have been investigated under conditions that vary in terms of the degree to which coupling is intentional and whether it is mediated via visual and/or auditory channels [94-98]. visually mediated coordination has been investigated in research aimed at identifying the kinematic features of a conductor’s gestures that musicians use as a basis for synchronization [100].6 Relations between imagery. Related work has shown that strategic timekeeper adjustments can be used to stabilize challenging modes of sensorimotor coordination. attention. as well as their own errors. when it is difficult to anticipate upcoming expressive timing because the stylistic idiosyncrasies of other ensemble members. However. 14. Outside the music domain. Coordination via the auditory channel has been addressed recently in finger tapping studies that are directly relevant to adaptive timing. automatically applied phase correction should be sufficient to maintain synchrony in the face of expressive timing deviations.

Figure 1. prioritized integrative attention. each data point represents the mean score for a pair of pianists. which involved the production of rhythmic movement sequences with predictable compatible or incompatible auditory effects (see [25]). The prioritized integrative attention task (see Experiment 1 in [54]) yielded an index of the strength of the relationship between prioritized integrative attending and metric structure. The adaptive timing task. prioritized integrative attention. The tasks were borrowed from previous studies addressing these cognitive processes. Although anticipatory auditory imagery. Note that all measures were normalized (hence the units are arbitrary) so that they could be plotted in the same range... constant across contrasting musical pieces and independent of whether or not pianists were in visual contact) and valid (i. The anticipatory auditory imagery task. For timing.e. body sway coordination was negatively correlated with the degree of asynchrony between sounds. For imagery and attention. and adaptive timing (ranging from low to high on the vertical axis)—for seven pairs of pianists. and adaptive timing indices were not strongly correlated with one another across individual pianists.E. Several months after recording the duets. the three indices combined well to predict the observed differences in body sway coordination between pairs of pianists (see Figure 1). each data point represents the higher of the two scores from a pair.e. yielded an index reflecting the vividness of imagery for upcoming musical sounds. prioritized integrative attention. and adaptive timing. which was calculated from the MIDI recordings). Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance 215 between pairs provided an index of musical synchronization that was both reliable (i. .P. the same 14 pianists were invited back individually to complete experimental tasks designed to assess their abilities at anticipatory auditory imagery. Scatter plot showing the relationship between body sway coordination (ranging from good to poor on the horizontal axis) and indices of abilities related to three ensemble skills—anticipatory auditory imagery. assessed the speed and completeness of adaptation to tempo changes. which involved finger tapping in time with computer-controlled auditory sequences (see [84]).

Adaptive timing stood out in this regard when the relation between each skill and coordination was considered separately.) The precise nature of the relationship between the cognitive processes in the proposed model remains to be specified. period manner [50. (It should be noted that alternative models with predictors such as sensitivity to the compatibility between movements and actual rather than anticipated sounds. but they did not fare well. The models based on averaged indices and maximum scores accounted for comparably high amounts (each over 90%) of the variance in body sway coordination (while the remaining models were less predictive). Previous studies examining the relationship between anticipatory imagery and attention outside the music domain have shown that the preparatory activation of sensory areas via imagery boosts neural responses to attended stimuli [104]. and synchronization accuracy in the absence of tempo changes were tested. Reviews of the neuroscience of music literature have identified these areas (among others such as the superior . The error correction processes that mediate adaptive timing may then ensure that these time-locked internal models are coupled between individuals engaged in musical joint action. and that timing mechanisms assist by regulating the relationship between imagery and attentional processes both within and between individuals. Although strong conclusions should not be drawn based on observations from just seven pairs of pianists. the results of the cooperative/uncooperative computer study [92] described earlier are consistent with the notion that that sensorimotor synchronization is facilitated by such an asymmetry in the coupling between two parties in a dyad. It is assumed here that anticipatory auditory imagery facilitates prioritized integrative attention similarly during musical joint action. the results of work on the relationship between attention and internal timing mechanisms suggest that such preparatory baseline shifts in attention can come to occur in a self-sustained. Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance Interestingly. Four statistical models that differed in terms of the indices that they included were considered. the results of this study suggest that it is worthwhile to pursue a model of musical joint action with anticipatory auditory imagery. Thus.216 P. the integrity of these predictions did not necessarily rely upon the inclusion of indices from both members of a pair. and the cerebellum being prominent in this regard—is broadly consistent with this sketch. and two included indices from just a single member. good coordination required at least one member of a pair to have relatively good ensemble skills. either the pianist with the highest or the lowest score on each index. Overlap in the brain areas subserving imagery. and timing—with the SMA/pre-SMA. Here the maximum score from a pair was a stronger determinant of coordination than the averaged score. premotor regions. Furthermore. anticipatory auditory imagery and prioritized integrative attention are linked through the use of common timekeepers to drive forward and inverse internal models within an individual. Indeed. 51]. Specifically.E. and adaptive timing at its core. either averaged or differenced. Coordination in duos may be good to the extent that the follower is able to anticipate and adapt to the leader’s expressive timing nuances while the leader concentrates on shaping the music rather than on adaptive timing. attention. This may reflect the tendency for individuals to adopt roles as ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’ during ensemble performance [10]. prioritized integrative attending in contexts lacking clear metric structure. Two models included indices from both members of each pair. prioritized integrative attention.

7 Conclusions Musical joint action showcases the human capacity for temporally precise yet flexible interpersonal coordination. Additional considerations. It is a challenge for future research to delve deeper into the issue of how these mechanisms interact to determine the quality of musical coordination. The proposed mechanisms underlying anticipatory auditory imagery. Thus. knowledge of the music. and adaptive timing may come to modulate the mutual awareness and interpretation of co-performers’ actions. imagery. 14. and (2) possess a suite of ensemble skills basic cognitive processes relating to anticipatory auditory imagery. 106]. I thank Mirjam Appel. may impact upon ensemble cohesion by affecting these three basic processes.P. Individual differences in ensemble expertise may be related to the degree of entrainment between the different neural populations comprising such a core network and the additional brain regions it recruits during musical joint action. 14. and Kerstin Traeger for running the experiments. prioritized integrative attention. . Keller / Joint Action in Music Performance 217 temporal gyrus and the sensorimotor cortex) as being of central importance in meeting the sequencing. prioritized integrative attention.8 Acknowledgements The preparation of this chapter was made possible by support from the Max Planck Society and grant H01F-00729 from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.E. Pursuing this challenge should prove that musical joint action is a fruitful domain in which to investigate the cognitive processes and neural mechanisms that support interactive enaction and intersubjectivity. thereby setting the stage for joint enaction and intersubjectivity. and internal timekeepers capable of automatic and intentionbased forms of error correction. including social factors. and adaptive timing that enable these goals to be realized. and familiarity with the stylistic tendencies of one’s co-performers. and Henrik Grunert and Andreas Romeyke for technical assistance. and sensorimotor integration needs that arise during music perception and production [105. timing. Wenke Moehring. metric schemas that modulate autonomic arousal and the intensity of attentional focus. These qualities are exemplified in musical ensembles. Janne Richter. Ensemble cohesion requires individual performers to (1) share common goal representations of the ideal sound. and adaptive timing include coupled forward and inverse internal models. Nadine Seeger. attention. The data reported in section 8 of the chapter are from an ongoing study of musical joint action in various types of ensembles from different cultures.

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........... When we look around in our environment.................. creating novel invisible actions rather than extrapolating visible actions..... 231 Taking goals into account ............7 Introduction............ All rights reserved...... we as observers have a clear sense of their physical presence while they are partially or completely invisible......... Observers thus fill the gap by creating something new.... (Eds....................... Morganti et al....................... 226 Linear extrapolation .. In this chapter we examine the time course of dynamic-action representations using an experimental paradigm for studying partially occluded action................. Still.............. the persons we are talking to may partially be occluded by a table in front of them and................................ These results suggest that action simulation is a creative process...........................1 15........... Contents 15...... 228 Starting from scratch ..........) IOS Press............................................ 233 Conclusions................ 2008 © 2008 The authors. they may even be entirely occluded for some time...........4 15..6 15.1 Introduction Visual occlusion is a commonplace thing................................. and substitute mechanisms for simulation (taking care of representing the action during occlusion)...............5 15...................... 235 15........................... For instance................................................................ not by carrying on something old..........2 15............ as they leave the room through a door and then reappear through another door....... 223 Paradigm and basic observations ............................ many things and events are spatially and temporally occluded...Enacting Intersubjectivity F...... ................................................3 15. 234 References........................... To address this issue we focus on transitions between perceptual mechanisms (taking care of representing action before and after occlusion).... Gertrude RAPINETT Abstract..... 223 15 Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action Wolfgang PRINZ............. Does simulation just carry on old processes – or initiate new ones? We discuss first results concerning the impact that features of unoccluded action segments make on the representation of occluded segments................................

In any case it seems that the perceiver/painter is capable of representing the hidden scenery in a way that is virtually equivalent to perceiving it. in a famous series of paintings under such mysterious titles like "La condition humaine". For instance we do not want to imply any claim concerning the kinds of representational modalities that may be involved in simulation.224 W. motor and/or semantic representations [4-9]. The concept of simulation has in recent years become one of the key notions in research on human intersubjectivity. It plays a major role in research on Theoryof-Mind and on Action Perception. Prinz and G. How do they fill the invisible gap that elapses between the visible parts of the action that they can actually see? What kinds of representational mechanisms are involved? In more theoretical terms we may rephrase a situation like this in terms of an interaction between regular perceptual mechanisms (that take care of representing the event segments before and after occlusion) and substitute mechanisms (that take care of representing the event during occlusion). thereby re-enacting their mental states and physical actions [3]. For instance it has been demonstrated that neurons in both frontal and temporal lobe continue responding for a while to the particular actions to which they attuned when these actions disappear behind an occluder [1. the questions on which we focus in this chapter address transitions and functional relationships between perception and simulation. The claim entailed in the notion of simulation is that they do it by putting themselves into the others' shoes. More recently the cognitive neuroscience of action representation has also shown interest in the use of occluders. The message here seems to be that the painting does not really occlude things but makes them visible in a special way. To which extent does simulation carry on old processes or start new processes? To which extent does it . or "La belle captive".e. unlike action perception which draws on external resources (derived from actual stimulation). feeling. the Belgium painter René Magritte has offered a variety of sceneries in which a landscape is partially occluded by a painting showing the very segment of the landscape that it occludes. In both domains the concept of simulation expresses the notion that individuals have non-conceptual and non-inferential ways of understanding what other individuals are thinking. action simulation draws on internal resources (derived from stored knowledge). Obviously. For instance. 2]. in the case of occlusion. what may happen behind the occluder and how we can know what is happening – has stimulated the fantasy of artists for a long time. In this chapter we take a closer look at the functional underpinnings of action simulation. intending or doing. Instead. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action The issue of occlusion – i. that is whether we should think of these mechanisms in terms of visual. Here we use this term in a way that is neutral with respect to any further theoretical claim. One of the reasons may be that. In the following we use the term of simulation to refer to the operation of those substitute mechanisms. These substitute mechanisms simulate what is happening during occlusion. In this chapter we study mechanisms for the representation of occluded action in human observers. kinaesthetic. perceptual representation becomes replaced by some other kind of representation – re-presentation in a true and more literal sense.

Perceptual substitution. Prediction performance was best when occluder time and movement gap corresponded. Since dynamic occlusion requires to switch back and forth between perception and simulation. In their study observers perceived brief videos of point-light actions. Evidence from various studies supports the notion that action simulation may be based on representational resources that are dynamic in the sense of representing the ongoing action as it unfolds in time [5.e. real-time properties of dynamic representations of occluded action have recently been demonstrated in a study by Graf & Prinz [14]. and some have claimed that the dynamic features of those representations can be traced back to contributions from the motor system [7. i. These studies address the issue how observers perceive scenes and configurations that are partially occluded. 14]. Here we raise the issue to which extent a view like this also applies to the representation of dynamic events that are occluded for some time. Prinz and G. A conservative view like this gets support from numerous studies on amodal perception. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action 225 rely on old representations versus creating novel ones? The default answer to these questions is already contained in Magritte's paintings: it is all the same. it offers an opportunity to separate them in time and study how they are related to each other. From these findings we may conclude that action simulation relies on dynamic representations that unfold in real-time. 9. and virtual contours. According to this view simulation has precisely the same effect as regular perception. 13.W. How do they know what the scenery behind their backs looks like (amodal perception)? How do they know how the woods and meadows in the background that are occluded by houses and trees in the foreground look like (configurational completion)? And how – and in which sense – do they 'see' invisible contours in a Kanisza triangle (virtual contours)? At least for the last two cases theorists have insisted on claiming that representations of occluded parts of stimulus displays are no less accurate and no less real than representations of unoccluded parts and segments. as it often occurs in natural settings. For instance. followed by an occluder and a static posture. or simulation. suggesting the conclusion that perceptual substitution is subserved by the same functional machinery as perception proper [10-12]. 15-17]. and observers were required to judge whether the test stimulus depicted an appropriate continuation of the action. then. configurational completion. How. is real-time simulation related to real-time perception? Can we stick with the default view that simulation is like perception – or do we have reasons to challenge it? . There is no way to distinguish between the painted landscape on the occluder and the real landscape behind it. is like perception proper. With dynamic occlusion there are always two transitions – one from perception to simulation. A setting like this is different from stationary occlusion where perception and simulation coexist in time. and another one back from simulation to perception. when the test posture was a continuation of the segment that matched the occluder duration in real-time.

whereas the coordinates of the point of reappearance are less so. In our paradigm observers watched an individual sitting behind the table and facing them. On each trial the individual performed a transport action that started on the lefthand side of the table and ended up on the right-hand side (as seen from the observer's perspective). Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action Figure 1. . and simultaneously it disappears and reappears at certain points in time. the cardboard). the occlusion of the transport action can be specified in terms of both spatial and temporal characteristics. Experimental setting as seen from the observer's perspective. From the observer's view the transporting hand disappears and reappears at certain locations. after some time delay. or (iii) too late from behind the righthand edge of the occluder. To prepare stimulus movies for the experiments. The design of experimental blocks and sessions followed the Method of Constant Stimuli (cf.226 W. 15. and their task was to judge whether the transporting hand reappeared (i) too early. On each trial they watched an instance of a full action (i. (ii) just-in-time. Though the occluder is itself a spatially extended object (i. From the observer's perspective the central segment of the transport was always occluded: at some point the transporting hand which was initially visible on the left-hand side disappeared behind a cardboard mounted on the table and then. we took video recordings from this setup and modified them accordingly (see below). reappeared on the right-hand side. On each trial the person behind the occluder transported the teapot from home to target position. As Figure 1 illustrates the occluder also occluded the acting person him/herself.2 Paradigm and basic observations To tackle these questions we developed a paradigm that allows us to study the impact that features of unoccluded action segments make on the representation of occluded segments. Our task was designed to capitalize on observers' temporal uncertainty with respect to the point of reappearance.e. The spatio-temporal coordinates of the point of disappearance are highly predictable. unoccluded initial segment/occluded medium segment/unoccluded final segment). Figure 2). Prinz and G. For instance. the individual picked a teapot on the left and transported it to the right in order to pour tea into a cup.e.

whereas ten plus six other ones showed points of reappearance that were later or earlier than the 'true' point. a: Schematic trajectory reflecting the transport movement from left to right. based on just-in-time judgements: in order to be perceived as being just-in-time. The task was to judge whether the reappearance from behind the occluder occured just in time. Stimulus movies for a given condition were always prepared from six original recordings. One of those movies showed the 'true' continuation of the transport as provided by the acting person in the original recording. b: Part of the trajectory is hidden behind the occluder. respectively (in steps of 40 ms. As a result. c: Method of Constant Stimuli: on each trial we offered observers one out of 17 possible continuations of the trajectory on the right-hand side. Sketch of the paradigm. the asymmetry between late and early points of reappearance reflected our basic findings. For the studies to be reported here we concentrate on the means of the distributions of the just-in-time judgments. For any transport action that we recorded. This procedure yields three frequency distributions over stimulus values – one for each of the three judgments.W. a total of 2 x 3 x 17 = 102 stimulus movies was prepared for each condition (resulting from six original recordings x 17 stimulus versions as required by the Method of Constant Stimuli). as will become apparent below). These original recordings were taken from two acting individuals (one male/one female) who each performed three replications of the same transport action. In the exploratory studies on which we focus here we relied on natural variation of unconstraint action. Prinz and G. we prepared a set of 17 stimulus movies. too early or too late. without taking the other two distributions into account. d: Typical finding: positive time error. the time of reappearance had to be shifted by a positive time error t. . Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action 227 Figure 2.

Prinz and G. we have two obvious candidates for the source of the time error: slope and intercept (see Figure 3). too. The basic observation that we made for both versions was a marked positive time error: The mean of just-in-time judgements was regularly obtained for stimulus movies in which the time of reappearance was postponed by about 40-120 ms (relative to the "true" point of reappearance in the original recording). since this paradigm draws on natural variation of unconstraint action. One possibility is that it arises from inappropriate speed of extrapolation. 15. in one version. Conversely. if one considers the time error a signature of simulation. In other words. For instance. .228 W. the original recording was regularly judged to be "too early". transported it from left to right and finally put it down at the target position. the final unoccluded segment of the action had to start 20-120 ms later than in the original recording. The other possibility is that the error arises from some constant operation for switching between perception and simulation. as illustrated in Figure 3 it may reflect initial switching costs for getting the extrapolation started. it leaves a number of potentially important parameters uncontrolled. According to this view the simulated movement is (for some unknown reason) slower than the perceived movement would be. in order to be perceived as just-in-time. For instance. In another version the acting person grasped a spoon with a precision grip and then transported it from left to right. there was one observation that we replicated over and over again in an extended series of experiments: a constant positive time error in the judgments of the times of reappearance. One is to regard it as a phenomenon that needs to be explained in itself: How does the error arise and why is it positive and not negative? The other approach is to regard it as a tool for exploring more general functional questions.3 Linear extrapolation How does the time error arise and what does it tell us about the representation of occluded action? An obvious account that we considered first is based on the notion of linear interpolation. If we assume that the occluded part of the actions shown in our movies can be roughly approximated by a linear function (as Figure 2 implies). the acting person grasped a mug with a power grip. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action Obviously. We piloted various versions of the task. Note that these two explanations are not mutually exclusive: the error could also reflect a mixture of both. one may use it as a means for studying how simulation is related to perception proper. In the pilot experiments we ran both versions randomly intermixed. a slope and an intercept effect. Still. For instance. Further inquiry can approach it in two ways. A constant time error of this magnitude is perhaps not a surprising finding in itself.

Occluder widths were blocked. it should monotonically increase with occluder width.W. if it arises from a fixed intercept. Conversely.e. One factor was occluder width. We ran an experiment in which we combined these two manipulations in a factorial design. b: Movement speed: According to the slope account t should increase as movement speed decreases. or how much do these two explanations contribute to the resulting time error? To address this question we ran an experiment in which we manipulated two independent factors and studied their impact on the time error (cf. if the error arises from inappropriate slope. Two possible accounts for the positive time error. Figure 4). Conversely. i. b: Error arises from intercept. Testing the slope vs. the time it needs to travel behind the occluder. Movement speed was manipulated indirectly by using two . if the error arises from inappropriate slope. Slope vs. Here we reasoned that.e. We reasoned that. whereas movement speeds were randomized within blocks. whereas movement speed should not matter for the intercept account. the intercept account. if it arises from a constant intercept it should be independent of movement speed. a: Error arises from slope. the resulting error should be the larger the slower the movement is. small). Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action 229 Figure 3. Figure 4. Occluder width was manipulated through the use of two different card boards (large vs. whereas occluder width should not matter for the intercept account. it should be independent of occluder width. The other factor was movement speed. i. the more time the travel behind the occluder requires. There were two occluder widths and two movement speeds. t should increase with occluder width. a: Occluder width: According to the slope account. intercept – which one is true. Prinz and G.

transported it to the right and placed it in front of the mug. As can be seen from Table 1. In the same vein. pouring. occluder width and transport speed. results show the opposite again. However the slope account must be refuted as well. When the teapot was transported for the sake of pouring. Therefore the first conclusion that comes to mind is that the intercept account must be refuted. . a mug on the right-hand side (target position). This relationship seems to reflect an impact of the ultimate goal on the kinematics of the preceding transport. since results are for both factors opposite to predictions. For both of these actions the initial scene consisted of a teapot on the left-hand side (home position). placing vs. the transport was much slower than when it was transported for the sake of just placing it. there was in fact a substantial difference between occluder times for placing and pouring – no less substantial than the difference between large and small occluders. the results show the opposite.e. Occluder Size small Speed of Transport fast slow 186 247 large 386 733 placing pouring Table 1. slow/pouring). How is the constant time error affected by these manipulations? The results are shown in Table 2.230 W. As can be seen. the slope account predicts small errors for fast movements and large errors for slow movements. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action different kinds of actions that went along with different (mean) transport speeds: placing vs. It may be interesting in itself. In one condition the acting person grasped the teapot on the left. As discussed above the slope account predicts small errors for small occluders and large errors for large occluders. transported it to the right and then started pouring tea into the mug.e. As a manipulation check we recorded mean occluder times. Transport task: Mean occluder times (in ms) as a function of occluder size (small/large) and speed of transport (fast/placing vs. In the other condition s/he grasped it on the left. As discussed above it would have predicted identical time errors for all four conditions. Prinz and G. but here we used it as a means for manipulating transport speed.e. the pouring itself was not shown). when it was either placed in front of the mug. and the occluder in-between. the magnitude of the time error is strongly affected by both. pouring) but also in terms of what happened before. Pilot work had shown that these two actions differed not only in terms of what happens after the teapot reappears behind the occluder (i.e. the mean true times required for the transport between the two edges of the occluder in the original recordings. i. In both conditions the movie ended when the teapot reached the target position. i. or when the pouring started (i.

(The picture is of course still highly schematic in that it maintains the idea that the intermediate segment of the movement is approximately linear. abandon the notion of continuous extrapolation altogether. In order to understand what the possible implications of an approach along these lines may be. Is there any alternative to this view? As indicated above.) . rather than carrying on the action seen before. 15. It therefore seems that we need to forget about both the intercept and the slope account and. we need to start from a slightly more realistic picture of the actions and their kinematics (Figure 5). one could think of the simulation system initiating a novel goal-directed action. starts a new action toward the same goal.4 Starting from scratch The notion of continuous extrapolation implies strong links between perception and its substitute for simulation.W. claiming that when the action disappears behind the occluder. perhaps. For instance. simulation starts something new rather than carrying on something old. That action would be goal-directed in the sense that its parameters are derived from both the initial segment and the final segment in which the action's goal is eventually attained. The idea here is that the substitute mechanism. Our findings suggest that something else may be going on. Transport task: Mean constant time errors (in ms) as a function of occluder size and speed of transport. to the effect that simulation takes over and carries on what perception has begun with. one could perhaps think of a less conservative picture. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action 231 Occluder Size small Speed of Transport fast slow 141 69 large 115 18 placing pouring Table 2. The modified picture takes into consideration that the transport relies on a biological movement that follows a simple law: it accelerates at the beginning and decelerates in the end. The basic idea is that perceptual mechanisms extract parameters from the initial movement segment that are then used to parameterize the substitute mechanism accordingly. Prinz and G.

Prinz and G. time errors may be larger for fast than for slow movements (for details see text). An alternative view. a: A more realistic picture of the trajectory of the transport movement: as every biological movement. One is that the trajectory of the simulated internal movement follows the same basic law for biological movements to which the perceived external movement obeys. As concerns . d: Likewise. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action Figure 5.e. relative to the 'true' trajectory. and decelerates when arriving at the target position. when the stimulus disappears behind the occluder. initiating a novel goal-directed action. This has two implications. it accelerates in the beginning and decelerates in the end. The other is that the internal movement is programmed to meet the external movement at target.232 W. Combining these two assumptions yields a simulation trajectory that. c: With this scheme time errors may be larger for small than for large occluders. b: Starting from scratch: the simulation trajectory reflects a goal-directed action of its own. the simulation mechanism starts from scratch. The course of the simulation trajectory captures the idea that. i. is initially much slower. but then becomes gradually faster and catches up. it accelerates when leaving the home position. With this scheme in mind we can readily explain why small occluders go along with larger time errors than large occluders do – and perhaps also why fast movements go along with larger errors than slow movements. Figure 5b illustrates what starting a novel goal-directed action could mean under these conditions.

Local information is provided by the trajectory of the initial unoccluded action segment on each given trial. from integrating local information over a number of previous trials. Would observers' knowledge of the fact that.e.e. . When fast and slow movements are randomly intermixed – as was the case in the present experiment – it may not be possible to derive reliable estimates from local information. i. In this experiment the acting person transported a teapot from left to right and. i.e. Conversely. it takes longer to fill a mug than a cup have any impact on the time error at the edge of the occluder? Figure 6. Of course. this would predict a pattern of time errors that is in line with our findings. i. and simulation may rely to a greater extent on global information. As before. on averages derived over a number of trials. the pouring itself was never shown. 15.5 Taking goals into account Further support for the idea that simulation trajectories are affected by action goals comes from an experiment in which we manipulated the implied duration of the act performed at target. with larger time errors for fast than for slow movements. Global information is available from past information. We ran this experiment in order to study whether the (implied) duration of the act of pouring has any impact on the course of the simulation trajectory. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action 233 occluder width. Scheme illustrating how the time course of goal attainment may affect the kinematics of the simulation trajectory (see text for explanation). As Figure 5d shows. the movie stopped when the pouring started.W. we need further experiments to test this post-hoc explanation – experiments in which movement speed is parametrically controlled and kept constant within blocks of trials. after reaching the target location on the right-hand side. on average. Prinz and G. when the occluder is large enough. predictions are less clear since we do not know whether the parameters for the simulation trajectory are estimated from local or from global information. started pouring tea either into a cup or into a mug placed at that location. it is obvious that for small occluders the point of reappearance will fall in the slow initial period of the simulation trajectory.e. i. As concerns movement speed. the point of reappearance will already be close to the point of convergence between the true and the simulated trajectory (Figure 5c).

e. Prinz and G. does the positive time error at the edge of the occluder tell us about relationships and transitions between perception and simulation? Although our exploratory studies still need further confirmation. if one assumes that that estimate is equally affected by both. we ran the experiment with two occluder widths. (We also replicated our previous finding that small occluders yield larger errors than large occluders do). At this point this conclusion is limited to the time domain. However. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action The logic of the underlying reasoning is illustrated in Figure 6. . then.6 Conclusions What. For both occluder sizes the time error was clearly larger for mugs than for cups. We take this finding as preliminary support for the notion that action simulation relies on representational mechanisms that take action goals into account. Since mugs and cups were randomly presented. 15. This is different from the previous experiment for which we argued that local information may be too unreliable when the task is randomized. then the duration of the (implied) act of pouring could make an impact on the estimated time of attaining the target.234 W. small and large. the visible onset and the implied offset of that act. If so. Pouring task: Mean constant time errors (in ms) for two target objects (mug/cup) and two occluder widths (small/large). For instance. Occluder Width small Target Object Mug Cup 113 73 large 91 41 Table 3. whereas in the present experiment pertinent local information can be accessed throughout the trial (i. this difference should be reflected in a corresponding difference of the time errors recorded at the edge of the occluder. we may draw some conclusions to guide further studies. in that experiment pertinent local information could only be derived from the initial unoccluded segment of the transport. With respect to that domain we may conclude that simulated trajectories are modulated by the expected time course of goal attainment. Again. the difference in time errors must this time rely on local information derived from each given trial. one would have to expect that the estimated time at target is earlier for the cup than for the mug condition. As shown in Table 3 results were in line with our expectations. If it takes longer to fill a mug than a cup (and if observers know this). but not in the previous one. the mug or the cup that is visible from the beginning through the end of the trial). This may explain why we see an impact of local information in the present study.

or globally derived from integration over a number of trials. visual.W. 15. Rizzolatti. based on the specific task we have used. the notion of linear extrapolation does not work – neither in terms of slope nor of intercept. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. C. 15. L. 155-165. 961-971. Blakemore & J. This issue also needs addressing by further research. L. this questions the underlying intuition that internal substitute mechanisms take over and carry on what external perceptual mechanisms have begun with. Embodied simulation: From neurons to phenomenal experience. Perrett. Perceptual history influences neural responses to face and body postures. Second. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. Fadiga. Third. 2003. I. [4] S. Clearly. Prinz and G. Fogassi. Neuron. 2002. [3] J. For instance. V. The notion that novel actions start from scratch is entirely neutral with respect to the issue of representational modalities. 2. These conclusions are. An important issue that needs to be addressed in future research is how task-specific our findings are. Goal-related information may either be locally derived from the ongoing trial. it may perhaps provoke them to initiate novel actions rather than rely on linear extrapolations. Keysers & G. E. Simulation and knowledge of action. 561-567. though it speaks in favour of controlled creation of novel actions. Umiltà. one could think of the extrapolation routine as a default mechanism that gets automatically triggered whenever an action gets occluded. Jellema & D. From the perception of action to the understanding of intention. A. etc. 2005. Decety. Gallese. [2] T. A neurophysiological study. That novel action could be represented in the very same modalities that are already involved in the foregoing perceptual representation (say. kinaesthetic. at this point. . 31. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. the computation of these substitute trajectories seems to take action goals and the time of their attainment into account.7 References [1] M.-J.) – or it could go along with switching from one to the other or even replacing one by the other. Dokic & J. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action 235 First. 2001. whereas the controlled routine takes over if and when explicit judgments are required. what our findings suggest instead is that internal substitute mechanisms initiate novel goal-directed actions that start from scratch. Therefore. Their trajectories are intrinsically non-linear. 4. 23-48. Will the same mechanism apply when judgments refer to spatial rather than temporal aspects of the action – or even when no explicit judgments are required at all? At this point we cannot rule out the possibility that simulation may rely on two independent mechanisms – an automatic 'conservative' routine that relies on extrapolation and a controlled 'creative' routine that relies on action generation – and that the relative contributions of the two routines depend on task demands. motor. [5] V. obeying the laws of biological motion. The mere fact that perception gets replaced by simulation does not in itself imply that new representational modalities come into play. the evidence from our paradigm. 2001. I know what you are doing. The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. As a final remark we should keep in mind that the time error cannot reveal anything about the issue of representational modalities involved in action perception and simulation. Kohler. Gallese. Since our task requires observers to deliver explicit judgments concerning the timing of the action. does certainly not rule out the existence of an automatic routine for extrapolation of old action. Proust.

The role of motor contagion in the prediction of action. Rizzolatti. [11] W. Crabbé. [10] G. M. 2007. 2006. NeuroImage. M. Frith. L. Kanizsa. In Studia Psychologica. Gallese.236 W. Rosetti & M. Margini quasi-percettivi in campi con stimolazione omogenea. Motor prediction. Knoblich.-J. Csibra. 2001. 131. T22-T32. Wilson & G. Jeannerod. 43. Trans.). NeuroImage. Y. . [16] G. Prinz and G. Flanagan. [9] M. Prinz. imagery. Sensorimotor foundations of higher cognition. 2001. [14] M. Wertheimer & S. Laws of seeing (L. 260-267. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. [17] D. The case for motor involvement in perceiving conspecifics. 2001. R. 661-670. 42. 1964. Wolpert & J. 36. 515-517. Graf & W. [15] S. 14. Neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the understanding and imitation of action. Rapinett / Filling the Gap: Dynamic Representation of Occluded Action [6] R. Louvain: Institut de Psychologie de l'Université de Louvain. In P. G. Current Biology. Les compléments amodeaux des structures perceptives. 2007. [12] A. S103-S109. 2006. Neuropsychologia. Predicting point-light actions in real-time. Cambridge: MIT Press. Action mirroring and action understanding: An alternative account. [7] W. Haggard. Rivista di Psicologia. Grush. 49. Thinès & G. 2.). 460-473. Cortex. Lehar. Michotte. Psychological Bulletin. Oxford. The emulation theory of representation: Motor control. and perception. Neural simulation of action: A unifying mechanism for motor cognition. Kawato (Eds. 2005. R729-R732. What re-enactment earns us. Spillmann. Prinz. Metzger. 1955. UK: Oxford University Press. 377-442. [13] M. Blakemore & C. 2004. [8] G. Fogassi & V. 27. 11. Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

........................... leading to a variety of impairments of which the cardinal ones are an absence of movement of the muscles of facial expression and an absence of movement of the eyes laterally..... This rare................ Lessons from Moebius Syndrome Jonathan COLE Abstract..... 239 Losing control ........................ 238 Thinking happy ...1 16.. For some their impairments in facial expression lead to problems in interpersonal relatedness and in both emotional communication and in emotional experience itself........... (Eds..................) IOS Press.. 237 16 The Role of the Face in Intersubjectivity................... All rights reserved................................................................................. Narratives from several people with Moebius are given.... Those with Moebius have no facial expression and have difficulty with changing the direction of eye gaze..... 248 References ...................................... Emotional Communication and Emotional Experience.............6 16...................................................... 249 ....Enacting Intersubjectivity F........ 247 Conclusions................................. facial expressions seem to have a large role in interpersonal communication of emotion.............................................................. The importance of the face and facial expression in enactive intersubjectivity is explored by reference to the experience of those with Moebius Syndrome. 243 Emotion and music ............ without such exchanges the development of emotional experience itself may be difficult.................................................... Contents 16...................8 Introduction........... Morganti et al......................3 16.......... 241 Collection of bits . 2008 © 2008 The authors..................................... 245 Learning to feel .......................... congenital condition affects the brain stem......4 16............7 16..2 16..................................5 16........................................................................................................................................ Embodied..............

Another man. particular new people. he thought that the lucky ones were blind from birth. Moebius Syndrome. is often described in terms of instrumental or locomotor action which may or may not . He was saved by a progressive shift in this from the visual to the auditory sense. said that for him others always were their voices. those whose faces have been called into question [1]. Changing Faces (www. In humans the most obvious unique identifier is the face. . gesture and facial expression. then my self-perception and self-hood suffers. however. They showed the fundamental nature of face for self . which nevertheless are designed primarily for. In a recent book I explored the relationship between the face and the self through the extended narratives of those who have a fractured relation between these two. abnormal and pathological attitude to the way others live. but their lives were made miserable and incomplete by the responses of some people they met. was beyond them and they retreated to an almost asocial existence.’ [2] I gauge my success by the feedback of those around me. blind from birth and who had never seen faces. and my appearance. intersubjectivity and on the perception of self. and those who have a change in their embodiment. look away from me. In this review. are given. As Merleau-Ponty wrote. and have profound effects on. or a bus ticket.be designed to be intersubjective. The face and facial expression are so central to intersubjectivity. unique embodied identifiers and interaction between individuals movement. or in eating or speech. and if those people.other relationship.1 Introduction Two necessary conditions for the development of intersubjectivity seem to be individual. ‘I exist in the facial expression of the other. some of the experiences of those with a specific congenital impairment. embodiment and emotional communication that their roles are difficult to understand unless one considers those who live without them. One man who went blind progressively as an adult tried to remember his loved ones by remembering their faces. The latter seemed more able to describe their 1 Here the use of the term disfigurement for a visible difference follows the use adopted by the UK organization which supports those with facial problems. The narratives reveal something of the link between embodied enactive facial expression and intersubjectivity. Some felt stigmatised to such an extent that they would lose confidence so much that buying food. He became most depressed not when he was finally blind but when these visual memories faded and he had no way of representing others. in facial movement and expression.com). was emphasised by another who had gone blind in his 20’s. or going to the cinema. and between that expression and emotional experience itself. Often people with a facial disfigurement would have no problem in their use of the face. like some with blindness.changingfaces. many of which are often not attended to.’ The importance of the social dimension of faces was shown again and again in those with facial disfigurement1. Within these groups of people there was main one division. ‘resided in voice. which leaves subjects without the ability to move the muscles of facial expression from birth. Movement. and remove the dysfunction. However there are other embodied actions. in turn. between those born with the condition. It is a compromise between current usage and the need to de-stigmatise. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome 16. as though photographs on a wall. say a disfigurement. His selfhood. The painfulness of this loss. in their eyesight. he said.238 J.

At the age of eleven. begin to become aware of difficulties in communicating with people. Other variable features include conjugate gaze disturbances. called a sequence rather than a syndrome. Moebius Syndrome. tongue malformation. entirely in my head. however. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome 239 journeys compensating for. He was very late going because of Moebius. as well as clumsiness and poor coordination [3].’ an inability to control it or express it appropriately. “I don't think it had occurred to me inside the family environment that there was anything particularly unusual about me. I asked him how he viewed his face and his self in those days. Though sometimes. and who had known no other existence. This seemed to take two. They seemed to suggest that one large deficit was in emotional expression and experience. dental problems and a small lower jaw. because all with it do not have exactly the same problems. and coming to terms with. Some suggest an excess incidence of learning difficulties and or autism too. which control abduction or outward movement of the eyes and movement of the muscles of facial expression. If I put my hand up in class because I knew the answer the teacher wouldn't ask me.2 Thinking happy James. hand and feet disorders. polar opposite. Whether that came out of my facial problem I don't know. In About Face I spoke with several adults with Moebius who described their lives and their problems in some detail. 16.that it is possible to live in your head. does not remember any awareness of being different until he moved out of the family circle aged eight to go to the village school.J. though this remains uncertain. the cardinal features are lack of functioning of cranial nerves VI and VII. The people I spoke with are called James. This is usually a developmental. in his 50’s. seemed less able to unpick the seamless relationships between self and face. I was very introspective. meaning that facial expression is absent. Two chapters within the book focussed on a rare and fascinating condition. “I have a notion which has stayed with me over much of my life . I felt neglected. absence or reduced emotion and. I divided people into two . I did. Clare and Duncan in the book. What made me realise I was different was the questioning about my funny face. having wanted to become an ordained vicar for sometime. sporadic genetic condition of a part of the brain between the spinal cord and the brain called the rhomboencephalon. their altered selves. I used to be asked why do I cry when I eat? I still do and have to wipe my face. is that people with Moebius have no movement. where he read religion. Those with congenital conditions. in their faces. when I went to the grammar school. forms. He answered tangentially. difficulties in swallowing and speech. or very little movement. The most obvious aspect of the condition however. when emotion ‘broke through. more correctly. and between self and others.” He had speech therapy and was bright enough to go to Cambridge. For instance in those early years at grammar school some people didn't understand me.

I think there's a lot of dissociation. I think I had a low idea of self worth. I know now that since I put out a reduced range of signals I receive back a similarly reduced range. I always found it difficult to break in. maybe I have to intellectualise mood. where I wasn't with anyone particularly. They may ask you how you are and it’s OK if you say. But they do relate to the more general need to find myself." but if you say. is he going to speak to me today. say in my Cambridge College. that the conversation divided around me and I was left on my own to eat my food and I was happy to do that ." I did go through a period in the late '80's when I was quite desperate and I would describe it in terms of "I am going to drop this tea tray". but it’s taken me a long time to latch onto that fact. say. he told me: ‘I think initially I was thinking I was in love with her. It was just quite enough to get by day to day. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome categories: those who didn't want to have anything to do with me for various reasons and those who did. These feelings I have lived with. I think also that I have a fear of being out of control with emotions. It was some time later when I realised that I really felt in love. Perhaps I have had a difficulty in recognising that which I'm putting a name to is not a thought at all but it is a feeling.” He was a very good and placid child. Perhaps I did turn my back on self expression. as I approach someone? As I go about in the street I see people coming towards me and I can tell if they're going to get ready to speak to me if I speak to them. It is only very recently that the whole area of non-verbal communication has even come to my attention. But before then we're powerless. "Well drop it and then we can do something. "Very well. Or they give you the impression that they'd say. He approached people in the Church and tried to make them understand but it was difficult. at a long table during a meal. I love the Church of England and there are fine men amongst its leaders but they don't really want to know. I just haven't focused anything on the face. I have to say this thought is a happy thought and therefore I am happy.240 J. Perhaps self expression was beyond me. I haven't related these things to my face particularly and that's why I haven't been speaking about it. Perhaps to get attention but I didn't really want to drop it I just wanted someone to listen and do something. When he met the wife. and I had the feeling. which reflected his reduced emotional range. “I had never previously talked to anyone very much. however. Those problems I didn't explicitly relate to the problems of the Moebius Syndrome." they don't know what to do. I sort of think happy or I think sad. But I think I get trapped in my mind or my head.' He became a parish priest and for many years hid behind his vestments which gave him a social role. In his 40’s.but not really happy. feeling . "I'm about to drop this tea tray. in my head. which in turn relates to the Moebius. not really saying or recognising actually feeling happy or feeling sad. his mother died and this triggered a period of depression and self-doubt. Is he going to know me today. I had feelings of low self-esteem and loneliness and isolation in company.

3 Losing control Clare was in her 30’s2 when we met. Whereas before he had almost repressed the idea that his problems reflected the Moebius. I think I am slowly coming out of my head. I certainly wanted to try and explore me behind the mask of the priesthood. seeing everything. I have also found it very difficult to communicate feelings throughout my life. if I went upstairs she had to come with me she went everywhere with me. my tears can come but there's nothing else. I try and shut them off. If you say where does 'me' now reside. Maybe if we'd had a small light in her room it may have been better. I don't.' Unable to close her eyes she must have just lain there till she passed out. That's a very hard question. Some people cry when they're sad. My tears only flow when I eat. in his 50’s. I realise it was because she couldn't shut her eyes [people with Moebius cannot move their eyelids much and so cannot shut their eyes]3.” Recently. We didn't have a night's sleep for four years.” 16. 'My first childhood memory is of having my teeth out at 3. or I suppressed a lot of them. I don't really know how I communicate happiness or sadness. Rather than saying that the condition has made life difficult I have been saying I have made life difficult. One of the things I think that's happening now is that I have a sense of becoming freer. Though I had arranged to talk with her. “She's always been very highly strung. he began to explore his feelings more. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome 241 something that I can't manage. She screamed a lot. If she did not talk until she was five or so I wondered what was going on in her mind. I think I was out of touch with my feelings. now he is coming to terms with it. she used to scream and wake us up. a big black mask came over my face. She may have woken up and been frightened of the dark. If I didn't take her with me everywhere she'd scream. If she was sitting down or in a pram and I'd walk out of the room she'd scream. When I was in the room she 2 3 People with Moebius tend not to have many wrinkles and so their ages are difficult to judge. whether as a child or with my wife. I sometimes felt that I would like to be able to cry but you see I am not really able to cry. Clare told me that. her parents were there and it was her mother who answered most. It was my fault. I have failed. Thinking back. I don't know. I am afraid of such feelings. I have an expression of living 'a life of the mind. Even now if somebody goes towards me I can't bear it. I am not sure I can locate where I am but I don't think I am entirely in my head or even my mind. freer in the sense of becoming more myself. . not playing a role. though I think I am getting better at it now. To wake up in the pitch black and be unable to see anything must have been terrifying. “I now realize that some things which may have been due to the condition I felt were just down to me. I imagine she thought a lot.' but I do accept that the mind is not easily able to communicate its thoughts or even its feelings.J.

though I try and block it out of my mind. This time she walked round to the GP. say. Because he never did anything and you usually take milestones. He has always been a very placid child. whilst her mother was in hospital. at church. The highlights of a normal childhood seemed to pass him by. I can't cope with assertive situations. it was just like another day for him.’ Earlier that year she had a severe episode. he didn't want to play. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome followed me with her eyes. Once she ended up in Casualty. so I tried to help her out. For 30 years or so I used to put it to the back of my mind. Previously she had been seen by a psychiatrist about her emotional outbursts. I wish I had taken more photographs. He didn't want to know. I never took them. I used to cuddle him but he never really cuddled back. He doesn't really get excited on birthdays. Clare said: “I remember. even his own. when I meet someone. never really appears upset. I asked if she remembered getting excited at Christmas or birthdays.242 J.” I wondered if she felt that the 'up and down' parts of her emotions were different to others.” It was a similar story from the mother of a small boy with Moebius that I saw. and asked to go to the local psychiatric hospital. “Not really. but as soon as I left the room she'd yell. apparently calmly. He always sits back and listens and stores things for later.” She stopped. He never really gets angry. We always cuddle him but it’s true that probably because he's so thoughtful and reflective our approach to him is less spontaneous. or even bloody awful. 4 . She's had two EEG's to see whether these episodes are epileptic. It is difficult to know when he's having fun. Now I Those with Moebius have to move their heads to look around since they cannot move their eyes much. I just say "I can't smile" and then it becomes easier. much more reflective. His mother said: “I remember his fifth birthday party. spluttering and shouting. I know it’s only in the last couple of years that. and her head of course4. kicking out. suggesting that whereas some people might say something's awful. I know what's going on. In really stressed situations she'd lose control. When he comes home from school we don't know how he's feeling. he was sat in his high chair and went to sleep. we have to ask him. she might find it difficult to express emotions until they boil over. Now I'm beginning to be aware more of it. that she might go from nothing to a meltdown? She agreed: “I've always felt it difficult to express how I feel. Everything is questions and answers. Duncan. She couldn't cope any more and fall down. and then get angry.

even if not they would still be important. 16. I don’t remember learning to walk. “No one asked. Crossing a road is still difficult. Henrietta Spalding. I have. a squint and astigmatism. Though Moebius is congenital and so people know no other condition. but I don’t remember pain as a child. or not being able to see someone over there. horse riding etc. “I did not do ballet. But I was always concerned whether the experiences of those with Moebius that I had seen were typical though. but because they can reflect on how they have changed over the years. these individuals are able to look back with some insight. I cannot judge when a car over there is going to get to me. the velocity or whatever is out.J. she never told anyone. of course. When I was 7 I stopped walking because the feet were so bad and I had to go to school in a wheelchair. she cannot see well even now. as a unique identifier. The face. As a child I could never catch a ball. Not being able to see the blackboard. both before school and during those first few years of education. I had the eye doctor and the foot doctor and a speech therapist. “My limitations were a fact of life. People don’t ask little children.” She was never aware of not seeing before these ops but then. So with a friend and colleague who actually lives with Moebius. In that I tried to weave a thesis about the face as evolving to express more complex emotional states as we became increasingly social and needed to look at others more closely. The shape of the Moebius eye is also different and I cannot move the eyes or move the head so easily. After some surgery I could walk but I never told anyone I was in pain. as she says. I always remember that as an adult I have had pain. but also in the way on which emotions were communicated and indeed developed. her feet were also painful. I cannot measure distance and moving.” . and a face doctor. or had.4 Collection of bits The next interviews with people with Moebius are of interest not only for their memories of childhood. my muscle being not so well developed. I did hospitals and operations. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome 243 still cuddle him because he's my baby but he just sits there saying "I'm too old for this now Mum". was crucial in the development of the individual. I suggested. we have been seeking the experiences in others who live with Moebius [4]. All these experiences I had gathered for About Face. Celia is a woman who remembers her time as a young girl. who I don’t remember.” As well as having the talipes.

I just could not do playing with the other kids. not children. Everyone told me I couldn’t smile. “I did not know about an emotional world. “I never thought I was a person.244 J. say to doctors. I thought I had all these different doctors to look after all the different bits. even though I did know how they could have been different. happiness as a child. but it was not the physical body. I watched others being excited. a mum at a birthday party told her to close her mouth when eating. Learning fed Celia like nothing else. I would see the doctors.” In his famous Meditations. She did not know what to say. There were people around excited. as a defined concept. I could think and dream and imagine. ‘I think therefore I am. She would have an internal dialogue with herself in her thoughts and imagination. doubted his embodiment but could not conceive of existence without mind. eyes. that was a name people called the collection of bits. this one. I used to think I was a collection of bits. I knew that being happy was something I couldn’t do. I was bright. I was the . Even though I was a collection of bits I always knew there was something strong inside that I had a mental dialogue with. I liked my brain. I don’t think I was happy. I knew I had a brain. Celia was a Cartesian child. I loved reading and read very early on. Sometimes I would cry but even that would almost be a delayed reaction. I could also talk about books. exploring certainty and the nature of identity. I knew things were not as they should have been. so she cried so she could leave the party. mouth. about operations. Once.feet. At my birthday parties I did not get excited. I did not like my feet.and the countless visits to doctors and therapists had an unusual effect on the way Celia viewed herself. I would have been sad so long the tears would come as I did not know what to do.” School wasn’t bad in the early years though. about my bits. I thought it might be related to my legs. I liked that bit. I am not sure that I felt emotion. skin (and other ailments too) . it was very separate from the physical. I was saddened by being in pain or having horrid things like a blood test. I could only talk to adults. then that one. Descartes. I never got excited at Christmas. At half term other children would go off camping or swimming courses. Adults were my friends. so I didn’t worry about the rest. “I did not express emotion. but I followed what they did. In contrast her speech with others was about matters of fact. thinking being and her imperfect body. I had an IQ test which was very high. ‘Celia’ was not there. “At 5 the only talking I could do was big. I liked my spirit because I was strong as a child.” Tears would come when she could not deal with a situation.’ originated. Celia here seems to be making a similar disjunction between herself as whole. She loved learning and liked to lose herself in the routine. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome The myriad of conditions . this was where his famous dictum. not about me. I verbalised it but not in an emotional way. or even had the concept of.

you cannot just stop. We always had a piano and I had lessons from aged 6. a body language. she understood what they meant. a word language. uniquely perhaps. I had no body language. “This is nice!” when I see something I like. which did give a feeling of pathos or tragedy. Then. I had to learn the palette without the feeling initially and then map feeling on. At that time. Then. on their own and without outward sign. They run around and jump up and down and I could not do that because my legs did not work and because of my lack of balance. green are there to play with. for two other young women with Moebius music was an important way to explore emotions. Children had another language.. some seemed to sum up my pain. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome 245 eternal happy ending girl. Eleanor agreed: “Yes. everything was in the fingers. I just was. suddenly. I grew up with music and heard different tones. and mentioned two things.5 Emotion and music Interestingly. Eleanor is now in her 30’s. even though I did not know what they were. if you are in one state of mind. there were channels of all sorts of different things inside me. accompanying dance etc. blue. as an adult. Now.” 16. “Sometimes. as a child you don’t have a choice. with adults. I did not realise I was unhappy. usually classical music. I would play one piece again and again in various ways. it has also an abstract. As she played with them so she began to experience them too. which allowed these two to explore emotion. captures and imposes emotional experience. Often what was conveyed was real pain. a facial language. Emotion came for me when I played the piano. Since I did not have the language. but another would come out through my fingers. Music. cheeky. the music and my fingers would convey them. by playing with the colours. I would have a conversation but with children I was a bystander. There were some sounds.” . I might have been in one mood. By 13 I was quite competent and I found that my fingers unleashed emotion and expression in me. through it. almost asocial canon. just as you smile. red. you need others to know. her playing and experiencing of music and a novel experience she had with a friend.J. for feelings. or the words. Musical notes and pattern imposed a mood… though not always the mood I felt. An artist might start with a palette with just grey and then. but she too remembers her time as a child with Moebius. often chords. They could really say it. Though it presumably evolved to be social. happy. I will say. even though I was not fully aware of emotions.” She seemed to be expressing and exploring moods through music even before she knew what these moods were. sad. all jumbled up inside. Even though things were pretty grim.

though I did not know what it was that had not yet become defined. and the next day it startled me out of my wits. Now I was there. I wanted to be someone who people would like. Over the months I bought clothes like everyone else to wear. to that? I learnt body language. acute observation and a formidable will to escape from the straightjacket of Moebius. I just started talking to people. I was not sure what I was. so I wanted to be sweet. By the time I left university I was renowned for knowing everyone and everyone knowing me. because I found I could express different things with different people. Most people’s evolve as they grow up. since I was only 14 myself. I did not find a single. But still it was not entirely clear that she was capable of taking into herself and feeling what she saw in those around her and aped. to be comfortable with myself. interaction. interests and cultures I had not met. but I could design my own. This embodied experience was extraordinary. it was strange. called Lydia. But.” Music might have awakened emotional experience but there was something about the social and about an embodied experience which was essential too. “Peggy loved me as a child. but it didn’t matter. For the first time my identity was not Moebius. look around and talk to someone with the same interests and you’d have common experience and could start to talk. I did not want to be radical at the time there were lots like that. Before people had not liked me. That sort of person meant that I did attract people towards me. I heard of abortions. She obviously told this friend and there was a real shift in our relationship. interests. single parent families and of poorer families. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome She went on to talk about an old family friend and the simple yet profound effects of physical contact where previously it had been sparse. There is a whole new something out there I knew nothing about. Peggy just gave me a hug. hippie clothes. in the end. I learnt about experiences. I did not want to stand out. . where she learnt far more than academic matters. to be approached through the body not through the intellect. This is certainly the experience of another with Moebius. We would spend hours talking. Once I was with her during holidays and I was near the edge. make-up clothes. I tried to speak with her. no one had given me a hug before. I think I developed a broad circle of friends. It was maybe artificial. being so unhappy with myself. not knowing how to interact. really intimate friend to whom I could tell everything but my series of friends fulfilled different needs.” Eleanor learnt to become a character not as a child. For a long time all my efforts had been to get to university. all the others were with their hair. How did I go from that first night.246 J. I always had the adult thing with her and we would talk about how her young daughter behaved and. being excluded and when she gave me the hug I was so shocked to know what physical warmth was. “I learnt in the first year to mix with people. Later she went to university. gentle and likeable. but as a student through trial and error. mine I picked. I just wanted to be non offensive. reliable and so that is what I became. For the first time I had the choice of friends. I told a cousin instead. I did not really have anything to wear. naturally. I found a way to articulate things to her being different. I would go to a group. and I started to develop a character.

. how to be social. I could feel really ecstatic. but I was starting to feel then. I am not sure how I mapped gesture and feeling onto my body. I needed the continuation of a thought into real time expression within the body. I learnt Spanish in two months but – more they are so theatrical in their emotional expression. It is as though it has to be in the continual present. I met a man with Moebius who lived in Sweden and he was one of the saddest people. with no body language. I could not let it out. People seemed not to care about Moebius and she learnt.6 Learning to feel Lydia is in her 50’s. happy. It was later. myself. when she moved to Spain and to another culture that she really began her emotional catch up. As a child I used to play a musical instrument with emotional expression. If I had not lived in Spain I don’t know how I would have turned out. for the first time. continually expressed to be continually experienced. for the first time ever. But in Spain everyone is so dramatic. continued and become exaggerated or.J.” Lydia’s new experiences were not of course within her or about her alone. and if fine you party all night. but the emotion did not really come from within. wasn’t feeling. the channel and the vehicle. In Spain I experienced emotion. Before. How did I get it? It was in Spain. to an extent. Before. looking back. but there it was fine and because of this I learnt to feel within me. to experience and as well as imitate feelings.” Darwin said that an emotional feeling can either be expressed. cultural world. In a place where emotions were communicated publicly more than in the UK she learnt. if not expressed. from watching people. But. she was mimicking. reduced and lost. I had found feeling difficult. but I. “When you live and share emotion together then you all experience it together. Over here in England it would be over the top. “I do not think I had emotion when I was a child but now I have it. At Oxford I had learnt a lot of imitating and mirroring and copying but had not. I met him in Italy. once I could express there was no stopping me. and the feeling. If sad you burst into tears and then go off to the pub. to a very profound depth. I had gathered all these skills in language and gesture and then in Spain I could just be me. she realises that at this time she was not actually feeling much. He was completely wooden. Once in Spain I certainly had the means. like a puppet. Now. If something awful happens then the world is coming to the end. using the whole body to express one’s feelings. I had been using it to conform and because if I did it I got the response. I hope he learnt something from them. It was at university in the 60’s that she first found she was a social success very like Eleanor. “That was how it was for me. had the feeling. The body language I had learnt and used at university could be exaggerated in Spain. without the expression. They emerged within a rich social. my thought was frigid or cold. She could gesture and sympathise but. somehow. Because of the cultural up regulation of feeling in gesture I learnt to feel. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome 247 16. I was an intellectual at university.

Bell's palsy. one must consider the possible explanations. They are not as musical in speech. So. Another important contribution may come from social and developmental factors. they talk in a much more monosyllabic way than here. and quoted experiments in which subjects posed emotion whilst looking at a scene or film and rating it as sad or happy [7]. Those posing a smile rated the film funnier than those posing a grimace. My voice could be my thing.248 J.” 16. One small boy with Moebius once looked up at his father and asked. smiling). say a defect in amygdala/insula emotional resonance. Until such experiences are quantified in larger groups it is not possible to know precisely how common they are. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome In Spain. though they use gesture a lot. But even seen in a few. All such studies have many drawbacks. When making a posed smile we are aware of the facial expression changing.7 Conclusions These narratives are individual and from a small number of people. The language and words don’t do it. but do suggest that some with Moebius experience profound impairments with emotional experience. (so preventing smiling). (so enabling. More recently Fridlund reviewed the evidence for this 'facial feedback hypothesis' and found none of it convincing [6]. This of course would be missing in those with Moebius. but this is not to say that there may be some contribution from feedback from the body to mood and emotion. We do receive internal feedback of muscle and skin movement in the face. when we do so naturally we are not aware of facial movement explicitly though it still may have an implicit effect. or between the teeth. that we are happy because we smile rather than the reverse [5]. One of the things we do in childhood is to observe the effects of emotional outbursts and expressions from the response of those around us. my vehicle of expression. That was a Eureka moment. . I had those in Oxford. ironically. He used examples which were necessarily limited. However. Adelmann and Zajonc were much more convinced. Neither provided evidence for changed mood and emotion following reduced facial movements. In one ingenious paper the subjects viewed a cartoon with a pen in their mouth. my tool. It is possible that associated with Moebius there is a constitutional impairment of emotional experience. The voice was the link from me to other people for feeling and for emotion. The latter group found the film funnier. they all talked about my voice and loved it. the melody going with the embodied gesture that completed the circle. the fact that people with the condition learn to feel later suggests that this is unlikely. even facilitating. It was the voice. might this contribute to our own mood and emotion? William James developed what has come to be known as the James-Lange Theory of Emotion. either between the lips. but both were unusual situations and unlikely to reflect natural functioning. in which one side of the face is paralysed and drug induced temporary muscular paralysis. ‘Why can’t I be happy?’ clearly associating facial movement with the emotional experience. not least that a posed smile is hardly natural. As a child we learn to express emotions which are usually larger and more labile than in adults. My voice is melodious and I had begun to use it to control people’s response. in Spain.

Cambridge. Without gaze control or facial expression and often with delayed language.8 References [1] J. more subtle emotions and found these difficult to experience. Zajonc. Cole & H. social motive and paralanguage. 249-280.J. [4] J. Spalding. [6] A. Adelman & R. If we cannot express. through words and through gesture. Annual Review of Psychology. About Face. MA and London: The MIT Press. Cruysberg & G. 327-333. living without facial expression. to an extent. then maybe our capacity to experience these emotions does not develop either. James were not able to express smaller. Cole. [5] W. Facial efference and emotion. In the end the precise reasons for this emotional impairment may be multifactorial. or atrophied. Cole / Lessons from Moebius Syndrome 249 particularly our parents. and that these have to be through embodied action. or lain dormant for years.M. to circumvent their facial immobility. 40. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. New York: Dover. Moebius syndrome redefined: a syndrome of rhomboencephalic maldevelopment. The roles of the face and of embodied action through facial expression in these become apparent in the narratives of those who live without facial mobility. Those with Moebius who learn to express do so through voice and prosody. Fridlund.F. 61. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 16. forthcoming. Padberg. 1998.J. 1989. But from the narratives above what is clear is that for a range of emotion to be experienced it has to be expressed and communicated. Merleau-Ponty. 32. Verzijl. The Primacy of Perception. B. [7] P. Neurology. Emotional experience appears to be linked to emotional communication via conversations between people. 1991. 1964.B. drooling. with the somatic absence of facial expression and the effects this has on development and socialization being of most relevance.K. The Principles of Psychology. [3] H. and poor motor control it must be more difficult to engage with others and so develop a social existence. Evolution and facial action in reflex. 2003. Certainly Clare and.T.M. 3-100. Still Faces. .R. For others emotional experience itself seems to have either not developed. in the body and on the face. Biological Psychology. 1950. The development of intersubjectivity may therefore require both unique means of identifying individuals and means for these individuals to communicate their feelings.W. James. van der Zwaag. Interpersonal relationships may be more difficult to make and develop due to the somatic effects of Moebius. [2] M. J.

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......1 17....................8 Introduction................................ 254 Socialness and mediated action......... and Trevarthen [2] postulated that infants are equipped with primary intersubjectivity that allows them upon birth to enter into mutual engagement with social others......... 251 Statement of the problem ........2 17..........6 17....... as reported by the mother..1 Introduction The importance of intersubjectivity for the development of communication has a long history in the social sciences.... 252 Autism from the inside out ...................... it will explore intersubjectivity and autism by combining work with infant intersubjectivity.......... is used to illustrate how intersubjectivity can be constructed by means of these tools after years of disruptive communication and social engagement.................. The goal of this chapter is to . (Eds............................ 260 17.................. symbolic tools and social others often function as animate tools that support late emerging intersubjectivity is developed within the paper.....) IOS Press. For example.............. 257 Conclusions............................................... and sociocultural positions on mediated action and sense of self in order to conceptualize how social changes during adolescence might transfigure mutual engagement......... All rights reserved. Morganti et al................................................ Case study material of one child with autism........ 259 References.....5 17.............................4 17........ 251 17 Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity Fran HAGSTROM Abstract........... Contents 17........ anthropological dimensions of socialness.............................................................. 2008 © 2008 The authors.................................... 255 Cultural tools and the sense of self .................. The goal of this chapter is to theoretically explore intersubjectivity when social development goes awry............................................................ A sociocultural framework that focuses on mediated action is outlined as one way that individual mental functioning and social phenomena come together............. Those taking a developmental perspective often situate its beginnings in the biological substrates of humanness....Enacting Intersubjectivity F...7 17............ The idea that routines become cultural......... 253 Intersubjectivity and autism ............................. More specifically....................... Bråten [1] used the notion of presentational immediacy to suggest that infants come prepared for mutual attunement...3 17.....................................................

fundamental positions on intersubjectivity are being revisited because they provide the theoretical evidence for making decisions about life trajectories when development is atypical. and to illustrate points of intersubjective achievement when cultural tools and social others as animate tools become the units of analysis [6]. 17. scholars are increasingly making the argument that failure in ToM tasks are more about the tasks than about the thinking of the child. Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity theoretically explore intersubjectivity when social development has gone awry by rethinking the manifestations of this during adolescence. case study material will be used in conjunction with theoretical contributions from the literatures on infant intersubjectivity. The main points of this paper will be to raise questions about present notions of the development of intersubjectivity when mutual attunement seems not to exist (early on) for parent-child dyads. [5] and legitimizes perspectives on atypical development that differ from the prevailing ‘deficit’ literature. In order to shed new light on the development of intersubjectivity. Societal demands change during adolescence for parents and children as transition from formal schooling to life beyond this is planned. there is a long standing debate in the literature about whether children with autism develop theory of mind (ToM) [3]. This claim and counter argument have been made by Trevarthen and Aiken [4] as well as Ochs et al. The idea that routines become cultural. symbolic tools and social others often function as animate tools that support late emerging intersubjectivity will be developed through case study material within the paper. a sociocultural framework that focuses on mediated action [7. And finally. adolescence becomes not just a biological reality but a social shift point. and sociocultural positions on mediated action and sense of self to question and transfigure theoretical perspectives about changes in mutual engagement during adolescence. Acknowledging the forms that mutual engagement may take can enrich developmental theory and at the same time substantiate a push toward possible futures rather than relegate adolescents with autism to stagnant living situations. This signals a difference between the evidence of science. Therefore. even those who are severely autistic and non-verbal. in the narrow sense. to theorize about the role of social others and cultural tools as mediators for constructing intersubjectivity. 8] will be outlined as one way that individual mental functioning and social phenomena come together. Second. First. There are several reasons. parents continue to report that their children. . intentionally communicate and convey a wide range of emotions during interactions. regardless of the failure of children on ToM tasks and other measures of social understanding. This necessitates rethinking what children with less than perfect neurophysiologic status can and do accomplish in order to interact with others.2 Statement of the problem It can be asked why fundamental positions on intersubjectivity are going to be revisited during the adolescent period using individuals with autism. and lived experience.252 F. Focusing on autism as a challenge for the development of intersubjectivity. anthropological dimensions of socialness. Once accepted as part of the syndrome.

smiles.F. some children don’t talk. While there are variations among story tellers. Would it be one lived with inadequate social skills and poor interpersonal communication or one shared with others? 1 Mother will be used throughout this paper for ease of reading. healthy and happy baby. living with and learning about autism plunged Donna into theories about development and hoped for changes in intersubjectivity that would settle questions about Terry’s future. to even a greater extent. By age three Terry was diagnosed as severely autistic.1 In other words. Some children become repetitive. engaged and in love with them. this paper uses parent description as the basis for rethinking development changes in intersubjectivity. and as a child who would never speak or be able to learn. For her.3 Autism from the inside out The cause of autism as a result of insufficient maternal nurturing to a neurologically based developmental disorder changed in the latter half of the 20th century. Joy. . as for many parents. from the perspective of the mother. gazing and touching were shared between mother and baby. Rather than a review of the extensive literature on autism. the baby was ‘normal’. some children lose developed skills. social service workers and teachers. Parent descriptions and stories provide insight about the everyday experience of living with autism as well as the ways that they recognize and guide their child as a person within the autistic experience. his development began to slide backwards. He began to bite and hit himself and began to use repetitive actions with little meaning. Within six months Terry lost all the words he had been speaking and no longer made attempts to get attention or interact with others. One such description comes from Donna (personal communication) when telling the story of her son Terry’s emerging autism. at birth and in the early months of infancy.” Donna’s story contains themes common to the stories many parents tell about their children with autism. is manifested by social-communicative isolation [9]. Today it is considered one of the most severe behavior disorders of childhood and. sometime between the first and third year of life a change occurs. Scientific investigations provide insights to autism as a disorder. For most parents the years that follow the onset of autism in their children are filled with struggles to understand the syndrome and at the same time interpret their child’s unique ways of understanding and communicating to other family members. “Terry was a beautiful. There is a communication breakdown that may or may not include specific language delay but does impact the social relation of the child within the routines of the family and. the relation of the child to the social world outside of the family. laughter. regardless of causation. These common stories of the beginnings of autism share a social-communicative theme. Rather than progressing. All this changed when he was about 2-1/2 years old. Donna began to learn about autism and worked to keep her child not only at home but cared for within the health and educational systems. they were in love with their babies and their babies were responsive. Parents claim in the beginning. Confronted with the medical advice to institutionalize her first child. Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity 253 17.

The more interesting case made by Ochs et al. As a social disorder. He never stopped biting himself (and on occasions others). Donna’s stories about her work with Terry in early childhood illustrate this point. “Human beings are socialized to recognize and implement social practices. The work of both Bråten and Trevarthen provide developmental links to the above position on socialness. usually running or screaming when others tried to meet these. and even when they do use language.” As can be seen. They purposed that ‘social’ can be understood as 1) interpersonal socialness and 2) socio-cultural socialness. and he required assistance for even the most basic of personal needs. These actions are consistent with the Ochs et al. and cognitive systems are disrupted [10]. both interpersonal communication and functioning in the social world are impacted. Recognizing two kinds of socialness allowed Ochs et al. As a neurodevelopmental disorder. just kept being consistent.’s [5] two dimensions of socialness. demanding that he take part in life around him and that he communicate. but did learn to use a few basic pictures for communication. He never learned to speak like he was before autism. all of which require socio-cultural perspective”. This point is relevant for the later discussion . Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity 17. since children with autism don’t seem to ‘get’ what is said and often say the wrong or inappropriate things to others. Bråten [1] made the case for mutual attunement by suggesting that infants enter their social worlds at birth with a self-organizing system that allows for presentational immediacy that does not require or rely on linguistic modes of communication. [5] disembedded the concomitant social issues into two dimensions when conducting ethnographic research with family of children with high functioning autism or Asperger’s.4 Intersubjectivity and autism A functional definition of autism that can assist with thinking through issues of intersubjectivity may well be that it is at the same time both a neurodevelopment disorder and a social disorder [5]. including their own and others expected roles. This is often the focus of intervention and educational programs. [5] to describe the social interactiveness of children and families in ways that went beyond the skills of the individuals. Their position is particularly interesting with regard to intersubjectivity because. as well as Lave and Wenger’s [12] work on situated learning and legitimate peripheral participation to arrive at the notion of socio-cultural socialness. stances. as they say.254 F. The first describes communication that depends on the everyday shared use and interpretation of language. Ochs et al. This is connected to expectations about knowing. According to Donna. Children with autism vary in how much and how well they can use language. perceiving and engaging in conduct appropriate to specific social practices. There was little change in Terry’s language skills. difficulty interpreting the messages of others can persist. and comportment. Donna assigned social expectations and communicative roles to Terry and established a picture communication system as well as routines so he could participate in the everyday life of the home. He remained a picky eater. We. [5] is the parsing out of a second dimensions of socialness. language and symbolic systems. They used Hymes’ [11] notion of language as being context sensitive knowledge. sensory systems. all of us at home. “I kept Terry at home and began working with him in conjunction with home services.

loved her. teachers. This could apply to Donna’s perspective. Wertsch [14. according to Donna. In other words. regardless of biological/neurological determinates remains social and cultural. She was steadfast in her view that Terry knew her. cultural and social.15]. He argues that collective human understanding. To outsiders Terry. as is Trevarthen’s [12] stance that preverbal intuitive communication is fundamental to the development of thinking and talking in culturally specific ways.5 Socialness and mediated action Ochs et al. One such scholar. the physical. consistent with . This leads to the question. historical and institutional means by which an individual acts. The positions of Bråten and Trevarthen provide essential points that can support conclusions about intersubjectivity that may be ‘real’ to parents but not to the occasional professional when children have severe forms of autism. used Vygotsky’s account of intermental and intramental functioning to differentiate between social as individuals interacting in an immediate context and social as the cultural. Hagstrom [8]. mediated action. Here Trevarthen is elaborating on his long maintained position that infants at birth have primary intersubjectivity that result in shared emotions with adults and supports the development of secondary (socially mediated) intersubjectivity [4]. are particularly pertinent for thinking through the ways intersubjectivity might change over the course of a life lived with autism [4. He referred to this as mediated action since any action produced by an individual either in isolation or with others is inherently social because the material by which the action is accomplished is always a social and. results from emotional and sympathetic experiences with others that arise out of continuous communication and construction of meaning. acts in and on his everyday world. including autism. and hence secondary intersubjectivity. Thus rather than focus simply on the physical differences associated with autism. [5] in part based their distinctions of socialness on the works of Vygotsky [14] and scholars aligned with the fundamentals of his theory. are understood as continuously influencing each other during the developmental process. While outside observation might do little to support this. Three interdependent systems. His writing on child motives for engagement and his broadening of the criteria of intersubjectivity to include emotional empathy and coordinated communicative expressions.12]. including a child with autism. it remains in Wertsch’s words. thereby. social service workers and parents can think about how things created and passed down by people to people (cultural) when appropriated via interactions with others (social) become the way that any individual. This action. is there an additional theoretical perspective that can be used for analysis of Terry’s situated actions that support intersubjectivity? 17. the theoretical positions of both Bråten and Trevarthen validate the possibility that Donna and Terry could share mutual attunement and emotions that might look very different to those outside the lived experience of autism. Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity 255 of adolescent intersubjectivity in the case of autism. Hagstrom [8] used Wertsch’s mediated action as well as his discussion of cultural tools [16] to organize a functional individual system (FIS) framework for working with clinical populations. a cultural derivative.F. simply looked very autistic and mentally deficient. not necessarily linguistic in nature. and was responsive to her.

These can be as simple as continuing to eat a new food to using his picture communication board to answer questions. Donna when talking about her approaches to working with Terry as a school age child provides an example of mediated action. now 14 years of age. I don’t make him do anything for that thirty minutes. following that workshop. I enjoy my son and he gets a hug.” As can also be seen. historical and institutional paradigm that mediated her actions. He knows about rewards because I use a counter that clicks. Each click means that he has stayed with an activity. 15 clicks. 25 clicks. a kiss and no struggle about going to bed. Animate tools have not received the same attention even though the notion that an individual might function as a tool for another person was considered by Vygotsky [17] and further elaborated by Zinchinko [18]. “Each summer I work with Terry to keep him going. Donna attended a workshop that stressed social interaction when working with children with autism. mental and animate. The importance of social others in acquiring and using cultural tools is not part of the mind set used to organize these tasks or important to the documented results. 10 clicks. Used a five token card to go for a car ride. I join in with. The journal entry does not reflect the use of animate tools. as symbolic. Tangible tools. In return. verbal imitation of basic vowels and consonants. and most of all to decrease his self-abuse. included three kinds of tools in the FIS framework: tangible. documentation of social interaction between the participants or between the participants and the surrounding social world is missing from this activity description. and mental tools. A tools analysis [8] of the following excerpt makes it clear that routines upon which activities were based as well as the reward system reflect values of a particular world (cultural) view.” . This is her first journal entry for Terry. It is a particularly integral tool whose use is constrained by culture for children with various disabilities including autism.” Donna’s approach to working with her son reflected a cultural. What ever he is doing. as actual objects or artifacts. are widely discussed in the sociocultural literature. Six months after the journal entry above. facial massage and blowing on party favors. building skills. Donna could not have used it nor could we as readers understand it outside of the cultural frame that organized her actions and expectations for responses. Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity Vygotskian and Wertschian theory. “This is a journal entry for one morning’s work: Used picture communication for requesting. The point being made here about cultural tools and mediated action becomes clearer by contrast. It has been a blast rather than a struggle! He gets my undivided time for thirty minutes every night.256 F. “Sunday will be six weeks that I’ve been working with social interaction. probably not because this form of assistance was not used but rather because noting it was not part of the treatment paradigm that organized the sessions.

. cultural dimension) that are being deployed by participants in situated learning. Maybe giving them a big fat kiss is an awkward way to say hello.. Second.e. the selection. using things his way?” Considering cultural tools as the means by which individuals move through everyday life helps us better understand the needs and challenges of persons with disruptive communication. And lastly. just sat there.F. This thirty minutes of interaction comes with a cultural history of therapeutic use that is far different from the earlier representation of parental intervention. which has as its goal recognizing the person with autism as first and foremost a person and then joining that person’s activity rather than imposing a pre-established objective on the activity. This can include what the individual brings to the communicative interchange as knowledge and skills as well as what is made available within such interactions by means of materials and the participants’ manipulations of these. dynamic interpersonal creation. The identifiable commonalities are recognized as the home culture. manipulation and social negotiation of communication via tools allow others to “see” the agency of a thinking self in action. The description of Terry’s activities this time focus on social interactional skills. As culture changes. which involves ongoing. symbolic. but did we ever let him try to communicate his way. First. And he’s approaching other kids.e. As a result of this change. just relaxing without getting up or running away. she sleeps with me and last night he arrived at my bedroom door with his blanket and pillow. culture at the local level changes. describing a person's use of the tools for social as interpersonal action and /or social as socio-cultural situated action reveals the network of meanings (i. For example. He is starting to show jealousy of things his sister gets to do. again reflecting how the perception of what is important has been shifted by the cultural (historical and institutional) frames of meaning. As new tools are created in the service of shared engagement. and for the child and family with autism. such as that associated with autism. “Here are some things we see Terry doing that are definitely a change (and all with no rewards or clicks).6 Cultural tools and the sense of self Tools are important in the everyday life as ways to attune to others. the ‘tool kits’ of the individual may have similar kinds of tools (consistent with the notion of culture resulting from the . animate) allows for the adjustment of communication. for 30 whole minutes. To be a thinking self in a particular ‘moment’ is to act in that moment with an array of tools identifiable to at least one other person involved in the action. within what over time has emerged as the working culture of the home. which may well involve assistance of others. tangible. He communicated the unfairness by bringing symbols of bedtime downstairs! It was a first. but the fact that he is noticing other children is awesome! He sat on the front porch. He is doing all kinds of different things at the park instead of just swinging. Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity 257 This journal entry describes the general technique. new tools are needed. These tools are acquired from/within culture. 17. understanding the tools used (i.

accept that individuals achieve a pervasive sense of this self that guides actions and participation with others in everyday life. But we were pretty uncertain about the other teen who this summer began learning to use . Therefore. I was fairly certain Terry. [19] This results in a persistent sense of self for the individual. culture reflected in and through the use of tools is fundamental to the social perception of an individual as a persistent self. functional communication. Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity actions of people living and working in groups/communities) yet the kit has the possibility for constant expansion. the building of predicable social interpersonal action depends on mutual attunement. which according to so many of the mothers of children with autism. This mutual attunement. It was scary because we weren't sure how the kids would take it. It's for teens with autism who use augmentative communication. attention. it can be said that one’s own sense of self as well as the sense that others have of the individual as a self emerges out of communicative consistencies that are interpersonally woven together over time via action mediated by cultural tools. because tools are vital to the ways we each negotiate everyday life. the actions and communications of their children to others as the children attempt to negotiate Ochs et al. The appropriation of routines and the rhythm of the interactions associated with this becomes a communicative tool for individuals with disruptive communication and for the social others with whom they are communicatively engaged. and at the same time. cooking. So it is important to do two things.’s [5] second dimension of socialness. here at my house. This sense of self is an expectation frame for how a person will act with others or in a given situation. as animate tools. In the course of typical development for a child who is neurodevelopmentally atypical. theoretically recognize that the thinking of one’s self or others as selves is a mediated construction which need not be linguistic. Two. two of my amazing colleagues and I hosted our first "Supper Club with Autism". and cleaning skills.. One. even an individual with autism. would be alright. need not be symbolic but can rather be mediated by cultural tools such as the enactment of shared routines or the negotiation of space or time via animate tools. His situated action demonstrates attunement and mutual engagement with a ‘new’ other that is reflective of continued changes in mediated intersubjectivity as an adolescence. Specifically. Terry’s reported acts reflect the social engagement he has had with his family and the use of social routines and actions as a tool.. etc. Goal: socialization. Perhaps it is this that they use and build on to interpret. The forms (or tools) used by individuals during social interpersonal action permit others to sense the self behind the act even when this socialness in the course of a sociocultural situation violates conventions and expectations of comportment. This self action. my 15 year old with autism and who uses a Dynavox and some speech. is present at birth and during the early months of the infant’s life. even when both interpersonal and socio-cultural situated socialness is violated. The notion of a sensed self is pivotal to the discussion of intersubjectivity and is fundamental to socialness.12] broadened position on intersubjectivity. Such forms of tool use for interpersonal action would be consistent with Bråten’s [1] mutual attunement and Trevarthen’s [4.just a little hyper probably. A last entry authored by Donna on an email distribution list is a fitting example of the public emergence of sense of self. serving.258 F. “Last night. as well as for those around him.

Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity 259 the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Donna. he seemed a little shocked. understanding the essence of intersubjectivity rather than discrete behavioral manifestation becomes critical within the literature so a person-centered view will over time infiltrate scientific and cultural perspectives. He was trying to tell him it would all be okay!!! He was reaching out to comfort another human being! And he KNEW what it was like to feel scared when something is different from the ‘routine’. He was still squealing pretty hard and you could tell he was stressed out.F.. one in the giving and one in the receiving of comfort. I don't know what the other adults were thinking. but then he appeared to understand and he calmed down and even smiled. but also on the necessity of mutual reaching for communication and willingness to be an animate tool in order to achieve intersubjectivity. he was pretty scared when his mother first left.but at that moment I was thinking something like. But because assessments and interventions are permeated with developmental perspectives that index specific child behaviors as representative of social engagement. The main points of this paper was to raise questions about present notions of the development of intersubjectivity when mutual attunement seems to disappear or be nonexistent. Well. Terry. other evidence of intersubjectivity may be over looked by decision making professionals. who can be prone to violent outbursts. and we just wanted him to know how welcome he was and how much we wanted him there. And here is the beautiful part. This was a brand new experience for him... If you know anything about autism you will realize that both boys climbed a giant mountain. "UUgh.. . and to illustrate points of intersubjective achievement when cultural tools and social others as animate tools become the units of analysis [6..” 17. suddenly came out of nowhere and plopped himself down right beside (and slightly on top) of this other guy who was so upset. Terry put his arm around him and patted his head and face. It was no small wonder friends. But that wasn't going to be easy due to the nature of the disorder. and he was escalating with sounds and signs of potential abusive behavior towards anyone who came near him. who had been off in his own world until that point. would take Terry's physical gestures.you and your stupid ideas! This is awful!" And then a miracle appeared in the form of two autistic boys. Therefore.. wondering how the other teen. We hoped he'd modulate..7 Conclusions Certainly the goal of early and persistent education of children with autism is to maximize the possibility for them to have possible futures rather than stagnant lives.. to theorize about the role of social others and cultural tools as mediators for constructing intersubjectivity.. So we adults sat down and got quiet to minimize sensory stimulation while this kiddo soaked it all in. 8]. It was precious and it answered so many questions life poses. We all held our breath. The work of the parent and the child when viewed from this perspective may shed light not only on differences inherent to the individual reaching to achieve socialness when their atypical development is typical (in a lived sense for them).

Ferri’s clinical advisor. Infants.). Trans.). [8] F. Contexts for learning: Sociocultural dynamics in children’s development. In E.. In U. Socio-cultural theory and methods: An anthology.). 1987. H. feeling individual can present little in the way of empirical data to support her position. 1972. 1994. (pp. Vygotsky (N. and the use of cultural tools as mediated action [8. theory. Sirota & O. On communicative competence. [7] J. Before Speech. Autism and the social world: an anthropological perspective. Shadden (Eds. New York: Plenum Press. Focusing on socialness from Ochs et al’s [5] two dimensions. V.Wertsch. [17] L. [4] C.) Topics in Language Disorders. T. Solomon. Cohen (Eds. S. Infant intersubjectivity: research. V. 1992. Wertsch. CA: Plural Press. A sociocultural approach to agency. Stone (Eds. E. F. SatterlundLarsson (Ed. Trevarthen. [19] B. Vygotsky. New York: Oxford University Press. Trevarthen. H. [18] V. Neurogentic communication disorders: Life stories and the narrative self. Rieber & A. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Boston: Person Education. (3 & 4). Baron-Cohen. 1985. K. 2008. 17. V. New York: Cambridge University Press. An infant’s motives for speaking and thinking in the culture. A. Tager-Flusberg & D. [15] J. Kremer-Sadlik. [16] J. 22-45). In A. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In J. [10] F. Trevarthen & K. Aitken. Koski. P. Rupert. Carton (Eds. 1993. S. Hymes. 1998. Perspectives from developmental cognitive neurosciences 2nd edition. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press. G. J. Culture. F. Ochs. 2001. Wertsch. 2004. and adolescents 6th edition. Berk. Wold (Ed. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press. [13] L. J. B. Tulviste & F.14] can assist in examining intersubjectivity as a life-long journey for those with autism. V. H. Forman. Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. W. 3-48. Elsevier Mosby. In R. children. Philadelphia. Minick & C. The Dialogical Alternative. Zinchenko. Minick. 2002. In A. [9] L.). (pp.8 References [1] S. And her fight is on two borders: interpersonally to push the child’s continued development and social situationally to push for recognition of educational viability when few or none of the rules of comportment are realities for the child. 2005. S. 11. In F. V.). [5] E. San Diego. Wertsch (Ed. B. Inc. The collected works of L. 2005.). Bullowa (Ed. Understanding other minds. (pp. Cognition and Instruction. Homes (Eds. The authority of cultural tools in a sociocultural approach to mediated agency. In M. 147-183. Vygotsky’s ideas about units of analsis for the analysis of mind. 2000. Shadden. The contribution of routine practices to communication and mind. Communication and cooperation in early infancy: A description of primary intersubjectivity.260 F.). Part of the claim in this paper is that intersubjectivity may be experienced differently by those involved in everyday situations and may not be observable if static ways of looking at intersubjectivity are imposed on the novelty of living with autism. 1992. [11] D. 2001. New York: Oxford University. 1979. [2] C.336-356). (pp. and clinical applications. [14] J. Sociolinguistic. 1978. 3 (3). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 94-118). Hagstrom. 227-239. Trollhattan: University Trollhattan/Uddevalla.99-137). 77-97). [3] S. Harmondworth: Penquin. Vygotsky. N.). Thinking and speech. Hagstrom & P. (pp. Bråten. 269-285. Pride & J. Hagstrom & B. In J.). and cognition: Vygotskian perspectives. in press. New York: Oxford University Press. [12] C. [6] F. Including identity in clinical practice. Ferri.) The Dialogical Alternative. . the mutuality of emotional and communication engagement between mothers and their children [12]. Mind as action. Hagstrom. Collective remembering. New York: Oxford University Press. P. Wold (Ed. Discourse Studies. The virtual other in infants’ minds and social feelings. Hagstrom / Autism During Adolescence: Rethinking the Development of Intersubjectivity The mother who fights institutionally situated socio-cultural action by maintaining that her child is a thinking. communication.S.Wertsch & L. 41 (1). Hagstrom. A. B.

Keller. 223 65 223 v vii.M. G.E. A. Rezzonico. Wereha.J. Zmyj. Zlatev. Riva. De Jaegher. F. 187 237 187 175 33 33 251 205 65 49 Morganti. Tsakiris. P. Cole. Brinck. vii. W. G. Tirassa. Morganti et al. Susswein. T. M. N. D. T. C. 261 AUTHOR INDEX Andrén. 3. 187 165. E. I. 117 175 81 133 117 vii.P. H. Di Paolo.M. Aschersleben. T. J. Carassa. Leavens. Bosco. G. F. Racine. J. 97 17 65 81 149 65 49 117 175 .A. (Eds.) IOS Press. J. F. M.Enacting Intersubjectivity F. Colombetti. Rapinett. Ziemke. 2008 © 2008 The authors. S. M. Braten. All rights reserved. Hagstrom. G. Daum. Sinigaglia. Prinz. Lindblom. N. M. M.

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