Project: The Embodied Communication of Memories

The Embodied Communication of Memories: Interaction, Evolution and Learning in Social Contexts

Ambizione Fellowship (2015-2018)
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation
Host institute: Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology
University of Neuchâtel

Research assistants
Olivia Delage, Solange Christin, Marie Deferne,  Joane Donner, and Sandra Loconi.


The communication of memories with others is one of the most common ways of creating, maintaining and negotiating human relationships, as well as acquiring new knowledge and skills. Malleable and adaptable human memory, unlike computer memory, plays a central role in the accumulation of knowledge (e.g. history) and skills (e.g. learning how to ski) over time. These knowledge and skills are transmitted and learnt throughout complex communication chains. Research has shown how the social context (e.g. expertise, social roles and communication strategies) strongly influences what and how we remember in social interactions.  However, so far little attention has been paid to the role played by bodily behaviors and how these are multimodally coordinated during social interactions about past experiences.
The main goal of the project is contribute to the understanding of how people remember shared experiences, and how new knowledge and skills are transmitted and learnt over time in multimodal social interactions. Given the lack of research on the embodied communication of memories, we seek to three research questions: (i) how are multimodal behaviors coordinated when people remember with other people?; (ii) how does emotional stance influence embodied communication of memories?; and (iii)  how do communication chains affect the transmission of memories?  We investigate these three research questions in an experimental study.
Our project will help to the design of new methods to improve contexts of remembering and learning in educational, work and clinical settings. This information will be relevant for computer scientists and engineers in the industry as they develop innovative computer-assisted technologies.

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