Interacting Minds Centre - Experimental Research on Cognition, Communication and Choice


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Our world is increasingly interconnected and global. Increasing interconnection means more interaction,
and this raises huge challenges. It is becoming clear that specific cognitive abilities for interaction
constitute a large part of what it means to be human. From the most basic perceptions to the most
complicated choices, patterns of interaction shape our situations and the ways in which we act in them.
Likewise problems in social interaction are a key symptom in a number of clinical conditions. We are,
however, only just beginning to understand some of the most basic mechanisms. As with other social
species, human interaction is highly complex and self-organising. Probably unique to humans, interactions
are also symbolic and recursive: they not only involve objects, goods and services but also ideas, norms
and visions, and they construct worlds that are at the same time physical, economic, symbolic and
normative1. Crucially, interactions are also reflexive, since the way they are understood becomes a key
vector in shaping them.
Interacting Minds Centre (IMC3) will study interaction as an interplay between three interconnected
research foci: cognition, communication, and choice. It builds on well-established and successful research
collaborations, from humanities, biology, social sciences, cognitive sciences, and health science. IMC3
will be a conceptual and methodological powerhouse, unique in composition and useful across disciplines
and cases. It will have implications for understanding interaction in the lab, in the field, and in the clinic,
across instances of cooperation, competition, conflict, and confusion. It will help identify AU as a worldclass
university, where transdisciplinary research mediates between basic problems and novel solutions.



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