Froese T. Iizuka H. & Ikegami T. (2014) Embodied social interaction constitutes social cognition in pairs of humans: A minimalist virtual reality experiment. Scientific Reports 4: 3672. https://cepa.info/1012
Embodied social interaction constitutes social cognition in pairs of humans: A minimalist virtual reality experiment.
Scientific Reports 4: 3672.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/1012
Scientists have traditionally limited the mechanisms of social cognition to one brain, but recent approaches claim that interaction also realizes cognitive work. Experiments under constrained virtual settings revealed that interaction dynamics implicitly guide social cognition. Here we show that embodied social interaction can be constitutive of agency detection and of experiencing another’s presence. Pairs of participants moved their “avatars” along an invisible virtual line and could make haptic contact with three identical objects, two of which embodied the other’s motions, but only one, the other’s avatar, also embodied the other’s contact sensor and thereby enabled responsive interaction. Co-regulated interactions were significantly correlated with identifications of the other’s avatar and reports of the clearest awareness of the other’s presence. These results challenge folk psychological notions about the boundaries of mind, but make sense from evolutionary and developmental perspectives: an extendible mind can offload cognitive work into its environment. Relevance: This paper builds on an enactivist approach to cognition (Varela et al.).