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Institut Pasteur, Paris

Guillaume Dumas is a researcher in the department of neuroscience of the Institut Pasteur in Paris. Originally from engineering and theoretical physics, he did a Ph.D. on cognitive neuroscience at the University of Paris 6 (UPMC) and then moved in a postdoc at the Center for Complex System and Brain Science of Florida Atlantic University. He came back to France for working in the “Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions” unit of the Institut Pasteur, where he started as a postdoc before receiving his permanent position. He then created the platform SoNeTAA (Social Neuroscience for Therapeutic Approaches of Autism) at the child and adolescent psychiatric department of the Robert Debré hospital in Paris. His interdisciplinary research is focused on integrative accounts of neural, behavioural and social coordination dynamics. Methods used range from both intra- and inter-individual neuroimaging techniques to neurocomputational simulations. He is also a science writer and journalist and is engaged with multiple projects at the cross-road of Art and Science. He has, for instance, co-founded HackYourPhD, a community advocating internationally the use of openness in Science and Knowledge as a common good, and ALIUS, an international and interdisciplinary research group dedicated to the investigation of the diversity of consciousness.

Computational Social Neuroscience of Interpersonal Coordination Dynamics

Progress in neuroimaging has allowed social neuroscientists to capture brain activity of multiple persons engaged in real-time interactions. For instance, hyperscanning recordings have uncovered inter-brain synchronisations during multiple social tasks, even beyond the dyadic context. Those synchronisations appeared to reflect different aspects of the ongoing interaction, such as interactional synchrony, co-regulation of turn-taking, or even empathy. To complement those experimental efforts toward understanding the fundamental principles governing social behaviour, especially the underlying psychobiological mechanisms, two computational approaches are presented: (1) a fully parameterizable mathematical model of a social partner, the Human Dynamic Clamp which, because of experimentally controlled interactions with real people, allows for emergent behaviours to be studied; and (2) a multi-scale neurocomputational model of social behaviour that enables exploration of social self-organisation at all levels—from neuronal patterns to people interacting with each other. We will illustrate how these complementary frameworks allow testing theoretical models concerning the coordination dynamics across the neural, behavioural, and social scales, and especially how they uncover potential mechanisms supporting reported inter-brain synchronisations.


Technical University of Denmark

Ivana Konvalinka is an Assistant Professor in the Section for Cognitive Systems at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Compute) where she leads the Social Interaction and Neuroscience (SINe) Lab. She holds a BASc in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto, an MSc in Bioengineering from Imperial College London, and a PhD in neuroscience from Aarhus University. Prior to starting the SINe lab, she was a postdoc at the Department of Cognitive Science at the Central European University and at DTU Compute.

Her research investigates the behavioural and brain mechanisms that enable people to engage in successful social interaction. To accomplish this, she develops experimental and computational tools for quantifying two-person processes, and employs behavioural, physiological (HRV, respiration), and neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI) methods. In particular, her interests lie in i) how people coordinate their actions and bodily signals in real time, ii) what neurophysiological mechanisms underlie joint action, particularly how simultaneous brain recordings (hyperscanning) can better elucidate the neural basis of social cognition, and iii) how interaction dynamics are modulated by social properties such as prior relationship and social standing (i.e. in social networks).

Social alignment through coordination of bodily rhythms in dyads and social networks

When we engage in social interaction with each other, we coordinate and align bodily and brain rhythms with each other. This type of social alignment has been a useful framework for quantifying intra- and interpersonal mechanisms underlying real-time social interactions. In this talk, I will present a series of studies showing how social alignment and the underlying interpersonal mechanisms can be modulated by symmetric versus asymmetric task constraints, leader-follower dynamics, social relationship, and asymmetry in social standing in dyads. Moreover, I will discuss how higher level interpersonal differences can influence even low-level social alignment in social networks.


Tilburg University

Travis J. Wiltshire is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence, Tilburg University. He is an interdisciplinary applied cognitive scientist focusing on understanding high-level cognitive processes (e.g., collaborative problem solving, social cognition) during human interaction with social and technological environments. He primarily studies these phenomena from a Dynamical Systems Theory approach; an  interdisciplinary approach to characterize how interacting components of a system change and coordinate over time. Using a multi-method and multi-modal research approach, he examines multiple scales of analysis (e.g., behavior, cognition, and physiology) to explain the coordination of a system’s components as they span the boundaries of individuals and technologies in support of collaborative interaction.

Quantifying social coordination dynamics to facilitate effective social interactions

Social interactions are pervasive in human life. However, in some social interactions, particularly in collaborative contexts (e.g., teamwork and psychotherapy), the effectiveness of those  interactions can directly facilitate desirable/undesirable outcomes (e.g., successful team problem solving, therapy effectiveness). Varying forms of intra- and inter-personal coordination in different modalities (e.g., behaviors, speech/language, and physiology) emerge in many interactions and these can function toward facilitating effective interaction processes and outcomes. In this talk, I outline different forms of coordination (e.g., synchrony, alignment, co-regulation, stability/instability) and methods for quantifying them with some empirical examples. During social interactions, as in any dynamical system, patterns of coordination form and dissipate. Thus, I also posit that we should move beyond quantifying aggregate measures of coordination for a given interaction by focusing on how the relative strength of coordination changes over the time course of an interaction. Taken together, I aim to advance directions for understanding the function of social coordination across contexts so that, in turn, this information can be used to augment the efficacy of those interactions.


Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

Dimitris Bolis received engineering, biomedical and neuropsychological training at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, ETH Zurich and Trinity College Dublin. In the meantime he had the opportunity to collaborate with research teams of diverse foci, ranging from artificial intelligence and neuroscience to psychiatry and pedagogy. Now, bringing these perspectives together with his philosophical interest in the sociocultural aspects of the human mind, in his PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, he has been trying to gain a better insight into interpersonal attunement during social interaction via two person psychophysiology. His main research interests lie in the interface of cultural-historical activity theories, social neuroscience and predictive processing.

It takes two to tango: Two person psychophysiology to study interpersonal attunement in social interaction

In this talk, we draw on dialectics and Bayesian accounts of cognition, suggesting that a fine-grained analysis of social interaction might allow us to reconsider the self beyond the static individual, that is how it emerges and manifests itself in social relations. In this light, we put forward the dialectical mis-attunement hypothesis, which views various psychiatric conditions, such as autism, not as (disordered) function within single brains but rather as a dynamic interpersonal mismatch. To operationalize our suggestion, we present two-person psychophysiology and multilevel analysis of intersubjectivity as a means to formally study the self and psychopatholgy beyond the individual brain. In brief, our results indicate that in real-time social interactions humans highly align with each other across multiple levels of description, from decision-making and gaze behavior to facial expressions and metacognition. Interestingly, such an alignment is most prominent in collaborative contexts and between people who have a bond of mutual affection.


Bilkent University

Fatihcan Atay is professor of mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematics at Bilkent University, Ankara. He has obtained his PhD in 1994 in Applied Mathematics from Brown University, USA. His research interests are in dynamical systems, delay equations, networks, and applications to neuroscience.

Mathematical Models of Alignment

We will give a general introduction to several mathematical models of alignment and coordination in systems of interacting agents. We will make use of paradigmatic examples such as opinion consensus and synchronization of coupled oscillators. The models explain not only how alignment is reached, but also how  it is missed, resulting in a rich spectrum of dynamical possibilities for the system. We will in particular focus on factors relevant for human agents, including communication and processing delays, friend-and-foe dynamics, and anticipatory characteristics.


University of Vienna

Stefanie Hoehl is Full-Professor of Developmental Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Vienna. She completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at Heidelberg University and received her PhD from the University of Leipzig in 2008. She completed her Habilitation at the University of Heidelberg in 2013. From 2016 to 2019 she led the Max Planck Research Group on Early Social Cognition at the MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. Her research focuses on social and cognitive development in early childhood.

Interpersonal neurobehavioural synchrony in caregiver-child interactions

Caregiver-child interactions are characterized by interpersonal rhythms of different scales, from nursery rhymes and affective touch to daily routines. These rhythms make the environment more predictable for young children and enable interpersonal neuro-behavioral synchrony and attunement between caregiver and child. By using simultaneous measures of brain activities from caregiver and child, dual-EEG and dual-fNIRS, we can unravel the neural underpinnings of early interactional dynamics and their rhythmicity. I will present our research addressing factors critical to the establishment of caregiver-child synchrony, such as eye contact and interaction quality, especially behavioral reciprocity and contingency. I will also discuss some of the potential functions of interpersonal neural synchrony in early development, from social learning to effective cooperation and interpersonal coordination.  


Central European University

Arianna Curioni received her BSc. in Psychological Science at University of Pavia, and her MSc in Mind Science at University of Turin. She completed my PhD in Cognitive, Social and Affective Neuroscience at Sapienza University of Rome on the topic of sensorimotor communication and coordination processes during joint actions. I am now a PostDoctoral researcher at the Social Mind Center at CEU, Budapest. In my research I investigate the behavioral, neural and cognitive processes that sustain our ability to coordinate with others.

Interpersonal dynamics and cognitive processes supporting coordination: theory and data

Many joint actions require task partners to coordinate actions that are very different from each other. This creates the need to find trade-offs between the optimal way of executing individual actions and deviations from optimality that support coordination at various levels. The tension between individual optimization and joint optimization also poses the question of when it is convenient to incur in such individual costs to support coordination. I will present studies from our research group investigating what interpersonal dynamics and cognitive processes influence people’s decision on whether to engage in coordination, and how people find the best behavioural trade-offs to achieve on line coordination.


Max Planck Centre for Human Development

Bahador is currently a visiting Humboldt Fellow at Max Planck Centre for Human Development. He graduated from Tehran University of Medical Sciences (1995-2003) as a medical doctor and then did a PhD in neuroscience at University College London (2004-2008). After a postdoc in Denmark (2008-2010) and another 7 years in UCL, London, he moved to Germany in 2018. In September 2019, he will start a 5-yr ERC-funded project on overconfidence in interactive decision making at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. see more at 

Confidence matching: a heuristic for alignment in joint decision making under uncertainty

In disagreements, opinions expressed with higher confidence tend to carry more weight. When uncertainty prevails and honest communication is in everybody's best interest, comparing confidence can help people make better joint decisions. However, different people mean very different things when they express the same level of confidence. This complicates the comparison. Therefore, to combine their opinions usefully, group members must adapt to each other’s idiosyncratic peculiarities and express their confidence according to a common metric. I will present confidence matching hypothesis and discuss findings about how people use this strategy to make joint uncertain perceptual decisions.


LMU Munich

Simeon Chudy is an empirical economist, currently employed as (non-tenured) Professor for Behavioral and Experimental Economics at LMU Munich. He is interested in understanding the consequences of non-standard preferences and behavioral biases for optimal institutional design. He conducts economic laboratory experiments, field experiments and surveys to provide answers to questions from fundamental and applied research. His research encompasses the role of social preferences, norms and incentives in groups (e.g. trust, reciprocity, responsibility attribution, punishment and honesty) and individual behavioral biases (e.g. boundedly rational behavior and self-control problems). More information can be found on .

A field experiment on leadership and team performance in non-routine analytical team tasks

Leadership has been considered a promising tool to improve team performance in complex tasks, but leaders and leadership styles are chosen endogenously in many team work environments. To uncover the causal effect of such endogenous leadership choices, we conduct a field experiment with more than 280 teams (1250 individuals) performing a complex non-routine task. We randomly encourage teams to decide on a leader and find that teams in treatment are significantly more likely to finish the task, and finish the task also more quickly. Leadership appears to influence team organization but does not reduce teams’ willingness to ”explore” original solutions.


LMU Munich

Merle Fairhurst holds a diploma in music and completed her undergraduate and postgraduate training in Physiological Sciences and Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. Before starting at the LMU, she held two research fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig) firstly within the Music, Cognition and Action group and then in the Early Social Development group. She then completed a research fellowship at the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the CVBE (Chair in Philosophy of Mind). Her present work focuses on the sensory and multisensory bases of social interaction and how these signals allow us to coordinate our actions and become aligned in body and mind.

Doing things together in time: temporal coordination in dyads and groups

Whether walking in step down a street or playing a Schubert String Quintet, many of our social interactions involve the coordination of our actions with others in time. Coordinating our actions in time has been suggested to act as a social glue, holding human groups together. However, beyond simply identifying instances where we were "in synch" with one another, how does the field of social cognition move forward? Presenting two models of temporal coordination, objective and subjective measures used to describe the interaction will be discussed highlighting potential avenues for furthering our understanding of the behavioral and neural bases of dynamic and reciprocally adaptive social interactions. The talk will focus on how and why these tasks are now being tested on larger groups of interacting individuals and how we should consider analysing the larger array of timecourse datasets. 

University of Warwick

John Michael completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of Vienna in 2010. He is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick and Affiliated Researcher the Department of Cognitive Science of the CEU in Budapest. His research interests include the sense of commitment, self-control, cooperation and joint action. He currently holds an ERC starting grant investigating the sense of commitment in joint action.

Coordination and the Sense of Commitment

A wealth of research in recent decades has investigated the effects of various forms of coordination upon prosocial attitudes and behavior. I will begin by briefly sketching a theoretical framework to distinguish and interrelate different hypotheses about the psychological mechanisms underpinning these effects. I will then present an ongoing study designed to tease apart two distinct hypotheses: (i) that coordination with a partner indicates one’s similarity to the partner (i.e. because one is doing the same thing as the partner), thereby triggering group identification; and (ii) that coordination provides evidence of the partner’s willingness to invest effort to adapt. Preliminary results support the latter hypothesis, which we interpret in terms of the sense of commitment to one’s partner.

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