Symposium II: Social and emotional interaction



The standard theory of mind is defined as the human ability to infer what is going on in the mind of others. What one would need in order to bridge this gap is either a theory (for instance, folk psychology) or a simulation model ability that will permit an inferential form of mind-reading. From this perspective, our minds are capable of predicting the behavior in terms of mental states that can only be inferred, and it is implicitly assumed that our relation with others is mediated from an observational stance: that is, a third-person process where one person is observing the behavior of the other person rather than interacting with him/her. 
However, in ordinary everyday encounters with others, we do not continuously try to figure out what they are doing; conversely, we respond to them in an embodied way by which we also become part of the situation. “Understanding” in this context requires more than a capability for verbalizing reasons for actions, it rather involves an ability to act appropriately in a particular situation with the others help. In recent years, some authors have suggested that, in order to adequately capture how a social interaction works, it would be necessary to add pragmatic elements to the simulation approach. This approach, supported by evidence from developmental and neuroscientific studies, suggests that before we are in a position to theorise, simulate, explain or predict mental states in others, we interact with and to understand others in terms of their contextualized expressions, gestures, feelings, and purposive movements, reflecting their intentions and emotions. Prior to model the mind of others, we already have a specific perception-based understanding about what others feel and whether their intentions are friendly or not, and, in most cases, without the need for personal-level theorising or simulating about what the other person believes or desires. 
This symposium aims to explore and discuss the role of emotions and interactive processes in the understating of other people´s minds. Instead of a purely "cognitive" encoding in which an agent perceives the interests of other agents, we are interested in exploring how the role of emotional states play in learning and remembering social interactions is.
Finally, related to these discussions, the workshop will allow the participants to wonder how Turing would have shaped his ideas was he still alive  today and knew other approaches to cognition. It would be of particular interest to focus on the role of interactive elements in social cognition and how emotions affect the way of recognising other persons, in order to re-evaluate the limits of the Turing test.

Topics included 

  • Social cognition



Invited speakers


               Lola Cañamero                                        Hanne De Jaegher                               


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