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Joint Action in Complex Environments

Working groupKnowledge Exchange Lab
Duration07/2015 - 03/2019
FundingIWM budget resources
Project description

Collaborating with a partner on a shared task requires both actors to coordinate their actions on an ongoing basis. Actors have to observe the actions of their partner, understand his or her intentions, and adjust their own behavior accordingly. Research on joint action investigates the perceptual, cognitive and motor processes that help actors to achieve this coordination.

Sharing a task with one or more partners is an integral part of many everyday activities. From playing a double of tennis to carrying a piece of furniture, understanding what our partners perceive and how they interpret this information allows us to predict their future behavior and adjust our own actions. Research has demonstrated that to coordinate, cooperating actors represent multiple aspects of their partner’s part within shared tasks, even though forming these representations might negatively impact their own task performance. Which processes allow actors to cope with conflicts between information about their partner’s and their own part within a shared task remains an open question.

In this research project, we investigate the underlying mechanisms that allow actors to coordinate their actions in complex environments where information from different sensory modalities is of different relevance for the actor's individual parts within a shared task. We assume that cooperating actors are able to execute top-down control to shield their actions and perceptions against conflicts arising from representations of their partner’s current task set. Uncovering how sharing tasks with others affects the integration of information from different sensory modalities can allow us to design media environments that effectively support the coordination of joint actions.