The School of Psychology and Neuroscience is hosting a seminar presented by Dr. Sophie Milward from the University of Portsmouth on ‘Task co-representation as a mechanism for coordination: human children and great apes’.
‘Human adults automatically co-represent the task of a co-actor online when acting in a minimally joint manner (Sebanz et al., 2003). This mechanism is argued to have evolved to aid prediction of a joint action partner, but it also causes interference on one’s own task performance in certain circumstances. I will present a series of studies looking at the ontogeny and phylogeny of this phenomenon. Study 1 looked at how co-representation develops over childhood, with results suggesting that this is a fairly late-developing phenomenon (around 4 years). Study 2 looked at why co-representation might develop at this age, by measuring individual differences in children’s co-representation interference in relation to other developing cognitive skills such as executive functions and Theory of Mind. Study 3 and 4 introduce an evolutionary perspective, investigating whether this tendency is a human-specific adaptation (possibly for collaboration) or whether it is shared with great apes. I will also briefly discuss some future directions, expanding this investigation of task interference to transmission of/interference from other cognitive or emotional states.’
The seminar will be held in the Old Library in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience.