[SydPhil] Reminder: Joint Action Day mini-fest, Macquarie, Friday Dec 12

John Sutton john.sutton at mq.edu.au
Mon Dec 8 13:15:54 AEDT 2014

Please circulate as appropriate.
All talks in Dept of Cognitive Science seminar room 3.610, Australian
Hearing Hub, 16 University Avenue, Macquarie University. All welcome, no
need to register.

Joint Action Day
A mini-fest of three talks on joint action by visitors from The Social Mind
and Body Group in Cognitive Science at the Central European University
(CEU) - URL: somby.info/

Provisional program
10.30-11.30 Günther Knoblich: Coordination Mechanisms in Joint Action
11.30-12.00 coffee break (refreshments provided)
12.00-1.00 Natalie Sebanz: Joint Action Planning
1.00-2.00 lunch break
2.00-3.00  John Michael: Degrees of Commitment

There will be commentaries by Nathan Caruana, Lincoln Colling, and Jeanette
Kennett. Abstracts for each talk are below.

Coordination mechanisms in joint action

Günther Knoblich, Department of Cognitive Science, CEU

Humans perform many kinds of joint actions including dancing, playing music
together, and carrying boxes while moving house. All of these joint actions
require that two or more people coordinate their individual actions to
achieve joint effects. I will present an overview of coordination
mechanisms that have been identified in experimental studies on joint
action so far. These mechanisms will include action simulation and action
monitoring, role distribution, speeding, and entrainment. I will conclude
with the observation that some coordination mechanisms are domain general
whereas others are highly domain specific and discuss the advantages and
disadvantages of both types of mechanisms for effective joint action.

Joint Action Planning
Natalie Sebanz, Department of Cognitive Science, CEU
Acting together often requires including others in one's planning. How can
this be achieved? I will give an overview of behavioural and EEG studies
showing that people form task representations that specify not only
their own part, but also aspects of their partner’s task. I will then
discuss recent findings suggesting that people also form joint task
representations that specify relations between their actions. This kind of
planning is particularly useful because it allows groups of people to
coordinate their actions and to imitate other groups.

Degrees of Commitment

John Michael, Department of Cognitive Science, CEU

This talk sets out a theoretical framework for understanding interpersonal
commitment in the context of joint action. I begin by formulating three
desiderata: to identify the motivational factors that lead agents to honor
commitments and which thereby make commitments credible, to pick out the
cognitive mechanisms and situational factors that lead agents to sense that
implicit commitments are in place, and to illuminate the onto- and
phylogenetic origins of commitment. In order to satisfy these three
desiderata, I conceptualize a broad category of phenomena of which
commitment in the strict sense is a special case, and introduce the term
‘minimal commitment’ to designate this broad category.

Unlike commitment in the strict sense, minimal commitment is a graded
concept that admits of degrees. I will go on to identify factors which
modulate the level of minimal commitment, and present initial data from an
ongoing study designed to test hypotheses about how these factors modulate
the degree of minimal commitment. Specifically, this study investigates to
what extent the following three factors modulate the degree of perceived
implicit commitment in joint action:

1.     Coordination: parallel versus interlocking sub-tasks. We predict
that a high degree of coordination, as when sub-tasks are interlocking,
generates a high degree of implicit commitment.

2.     Conventionalization: length of time/number of occasions over which a
contribution to a joint action has been made so far. We predict that mere
repetition increases the degree of implicit commitment.

3.    Cost: past and future costs of re-planning. We predict that the cost
of on agent’s re-planning if a second agent fails to make an expected
contribution, and the first agent’s past investment in the joint action
based upon the expectation of that contribution, increase the degree of
implicit commitment.

Professor John Sutton
Deputy Head, Department of Cognitive Science
Macquarie University, Sydney,
NSW 2109, Australia
Phone: +61 (0)2 9850 4132
Email: john.sutton at mq.edu.au
URL: http://www.johnsutton.net/
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