Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Cordula Vesper (Donders Series 121)

August 20, 2013

Promotor: Prof.dr. G. Knoblich, copromotor: Dr. N. Sebanz

Acting Together: Mechanisms of Intentional Coordination

Coordination with other people is a central part of human life. Whenever we wave at a friend, help our neighbor carry her shopping bag up the stairs, dance tango or talk to one another, we need to take another person’s actions into account and accordingly adapt how we do our part in the interaction. The current thesis aimed at understanding the mechanisms and processes that make joint action possible. Specifically, it targeted joint actions in which two (or more) coactors intentionally coordinate their actions under narrow real-time constraints. In both theoretical and empirical work, mechanisms and processes that support coordination were identified; these include coordination strategies, integrated motor simulations, and perceptual action coupling. Depending on the context, one or more of these mechanisms have an impact on interpersonal coordination. Taken together, this thesis demonstrates that joint action is more than just adding the actions of individuals; joint action is based on mechanisms and processes that are often different from those guiding individual behavior.