Wednesday 11th September: Arianna Curioni (Social Mind Center at CEU) Interpersonal dynamics and cognitive processes supporting coordination: theory and data (16.00-17.30)
Many joint actions require task partners to coordinate actions that are very different from each other. This creates the need to find trade-offs between the optimal way of executing individual actions and deviations from optimality that support coordination at various levels. The tension between individual optimization and joint optimization also poses the question of when it is convenient to incur in such individual costs to support coordination. I will present studies from our research group investigating what interpersonal dynamics and cognitive processes influence people’s decision on whether to engage in coordination, and how people find the best behavioural trade-offs to achieve on line coordination.
Monday 23rd September: Alessandro Salice (University College Cork) Primitive Promises (15.00-16.30)
In a series of articles, Margaret Gilbert has defended what she calls the “joint commitment account of promising,” according to which promises can be traced back to joint commitments: Pamela’s promise to Sam that she will φ coincides with Pamela and Sam’s joint commitment to the decision that Pamela will φ. On this understanding of promising, promissory obligations derive from the joint commitments the promisor and the promisee have entered. In this talk, I reject Gilbert’s account and develop an alternative view of promising. This is a primitivist view, according to which promises belong to a primitive or sui generis kind of speech act.
Wednesday 9th October: Richard Ramsey (Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Bangor University) Putting the non-social into social neuroscience (16.00-17.30) Room S1.50
A central thrust of social neuroscience research has been to delineate processes that are specific to social interactions, so-called domain-specific processes. Although valuable insight has been generated through this approach, I argue that an overreliance on specialised, domain-specific explanations has produced a misleading characterisation of the mechanisms involved in supporting social interactions. Indeed, a relatively narrow focus on domain-specific systems has led to a situation where researchers interested in social information processing expect too much explanatory power from the operation of domain-specific systems alone. Instead, in this talk, I emphasise the relatively untapped value of hybrid accounts of social information processing, which place greater parity on domain-general as well as domain-specific processes. To do so, I outline a model of social information processing that integrates two independent lines of research that, to date, have seen little cross-talk between them. The first is work on person perception in social neuroscience, which has primarily focussed on domain-specific systems. The second line of research is based on domain-general processes associated with orienting of attention, which involves selecting between competing stimuli in the environment as well as internal states, such as task goals. An important feature of the model is that these two primary systems interact to integrate information during social interactions. To evaluate the proposed model, I compare it to existing accounts of social information processing, as well as to current empirical evidence. I show that the current model is simpler than prior accounts of social information processing by requiring fewer specialised components, that it makes novel predictions, and that it is supported by a wealth of evidence across different research domains (both social and non-social). In short, I hope to convince you of the importance of understanding non-social information processing systems when attempting to understand the biological bases that support social interactions.
Tuesday 5th November: Guido Löhr (Bochum): Commitment and Language (16.00-17.00)