Directors of the School: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Directors of the Course: Uri Hasson and Thalia Wheatley
Creation and control of mind-oriented movements
As with many other core human abilities, intentional communication appears a fairly straightforward phenomenon, at least until we interact with other humans having communication deficits, or until we try to build artificial cognitive agents that can effectively deal with the pervasive ambiguity of human communicative signals. It has often been assumed that these communicative abilities ultimately rely on coding-decoding of symbols or sensorimotor routines whose meaning is already shared across communicators, neglecting that using those symbols and routines requires a computational mechanism powerful enough to mutually negotiate them.
In this talk I will elaborate on the cognitive and neural mechanisms supporting the human ability to rapidly negotiate novel shared symbols, and I will use this ability as a privileged vantage point for understanding human communicative abilities. I will describe empirical evidence suggesting that the selection of communicative actions is independent from the operations of the language system, strongly dependent on dynamically updating shared conceptualizations of a signal’s use, and supported by a computational overlap between selection and recognition of a communicative behavior in communicators and addressees, respectively.