Last Thursday, Nov. 22, I gave my last seminar as a member of the Ikegami Laboratory. The title and abstract were as follows:
For many years I have been designing agent-based models of minimal forms of dyadic social interaction using an evolutionary robotics approach. My aim was to analyze and to better illustrate the way in which the dynamics of the interaction process enable and constrain the behaviors of the individual interactors. Another aspect of my research was the phenomenology of intersubjectivity, i.e. the first-person experience of what it is like to interact with others.
My work in these two areas led me to the prediction that an experience of the other’s presence is based on a specific kind of interaction: a coordinated interaction based on joint actions whose successful completion cannot be accomplished by isolated individuals. In order to evaluate this hypothesis we recently conducted a psychological study in which two participants were asked to find each other in a minimal virtual space while avoiding distracting objects. The qualitative and quantitative results of this experiment show that moments of joint action, for example turn-taking, indeed correspond to a more strongly felt presence of another person.