Departmental Colloquium: Robrecht van der Wel, Rutgers University
Let’s act together, it’s Valentine’s Day
Robrecht van der Wel
Going on a date for Valentine’s Day is (hopefully) more enjoyable together than it is in the absence of company. Much of what people do, they do in the presence of others. Often, other people merely act as passersby, such as when we walk on a busy street. But the presence of others often creates opportunities for accomplishing goals we could not accomplish alone, such as when lifting heavy furniture. In this talk, I will discuss studies I have conducted on the mechanisms through which other people influence our physical actions. These studies will cover both implicit influences of others’ cognitions and actions on our action system, as well as cases in which people explicitly plan and coordinate their actions together with others. Metacognitive aspects of such joint actions will be discussed as well. Together, these studies support the view of an embodied cognitive system that is embedded in a social context.