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Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

International Initiatives

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NWO project: Socio-Cognitive Mechanisms of Symbolic Communication

SCMSC is a project funded by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) on Socio-Cognitive Mechanisms of Symbolic Communication, and coordinated by Paul Vogt (Tillburg University). This project aims to study the socio-cognitive mechanisms of symbolic communication. In contrast to other species, humans have the capacity to communicate symbolically (i.e. using forms that are either arbitrary or conventionalised) in an open fashion (i.e. with a very large repertoire of symbols). It is widely accepted that our ability to communicate symbolically has both cognitive and social roots. In recent years, traditional approaches from humanities to study symbolic communication, such as linguistics and psychology, have been complemented by computational approaches. However, interactions between researchers from the humanities with computer modellers have been few and far between, perhaps due to a lack of mutual understanding of what each field can contribute to the other.

In this project, we will set up a structural research network to improve cross fertilization between researchers from different disciplines by exchanging knowledge and experiences, and join forces to study communication multidisciplinary. This way, we aim to improve each other’s research methods and investigate unifying properties of the socio-cognitive mechanisms underlying symbolic communication. To achieve this, we propose to start up an open structural research network in which we will organise two workshops, apply for joint research funding, set up an online repository of publications, educational and other materials, and publish an edited collection.

Partners are Paul Vogt (Tillburg University, The Netherlands), Linda Smith (Indiana University, Bloomington, US), Pierre-Yves Oudeyer (INRIA-ENSTA-ParisTech, France), Aslo Ozyurek (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands), Tony Belpaeme (University of Plymouth, UK). Web site: http://ilk.uvt.nl/~paul/scmsc/SCMSC/Home.html .