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This talk presents recent functional insights derived from behavioural and neuroimaging studies into the cognitive mechanisms underlying human joint action. The main question is how the cognitive system of one actor can organize the perceptual consequences of the movements of another actor such that effective joint action in the two actors can take place. Particularly, the issue of complementing each other's action in contrast to merely imitating the actions that one observes will be discussed. Other issues that have been investigated are motivational states (cooperative or competitive), error-monitoring and the interaction between actors at the level of motor control. The talk is completed with presenting recent attempts to implement the functional insights from these experiments into autonomous systems being capable of collaborating intelligently on shared motor tasks.
Date of Conference: 12-15 March 2008