Cordula Vesper

When height carries weight: communicating hidden object properties for joint action

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  • Laura Schmitz, Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  • ,
  • Cordula Vesper
  • Natalie Sebanz, Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  • ,
  • Günther Knoblich, Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
In the absence of pre‐established communicative conventions, people create novel communication systems to successfully coordinate their actions toward a joint goal. In this study, we address two types of such novel communication systems: sensorimotor communication, where the kinematics of instrumental actions are systematically modulated, versus symbolic communication. We ask which of the two systems co‐actors preferentially create when aiming to communicate about hidden object properties such as weight. The results of three experiments consistently show that actors who knew the weight of an object transmitted this weight information to their uninformed co‐actors by systematically modulating their instrumental actions, grasping objects of particular weights at particular heights. This preference for sensorimotor communication was reduced in a fourth experiment where co‐actors could communicate with weight‐related symbols. Our findings demonstrate that the use of sensorimotor communication extends beyond the communication of spatial locations to non‐spatial, hidden object properties.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Science
Volume42
Issue6
Pages (from-to)2021–2059
Number of pages39
ISSN0364-0213
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Social cognition, Joint action, Coordination, Sensorimotor communication, Coordination strategy, Experimental semiotics

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