Sandro Rubichi, Cristina Iani, Roberto Nicoletti

On the nature of shared representation

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: joint action, task sharing, shared representations, action anticipation, cognitive conflict.

The need to investigate cognition and action in a social context has become more and more evident in recent years and several research efforts are focusing on studying joint action, that is the ability to coordinate our actions with those of others. Engaging in joint action is a specialty of experts in particular domains, such as in sports and arts. Imagine a couple of skaters dancing on a skating-ring or musicians playing instruments: these are with no doubt situations where people manage to coordinate their actions swiftly and accurately. However, we coordinate our actions with others all the time, be it housecleaning with another person or helping a child to get dressed. There is growing evidence suggesting that successful joint action depends on the abilities to share representation (co-representation hypothesis), to predict actions, and to integrate predicted effects of own and other's actions. An important way to predict others' actions is based on the knowledge of what another's task is, that is, knowing the stimulus conditions under which an individual will perform a certain action. This happens in task-sharing situations, and there is evidence that in tasksharing situations individuals form shared representations. In the present work it is our intention to examine the nature of shared representations and the cognitive mechanisms at their bases. Joint action studies that directly or indirectly assessed these issue are considered. On the whole, the available evidence suggests that the cognitive ability to build shared representations utilizes the structural features of the task and that some environmental/situational features are able to modulate this ability.

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