Coordinating social action

📣New! Coordinating social action: A primer for the cross-species investigation of communicative repair. Very happy to present this work w/ stellar coauthors @rapha_heesen @MarlenFroehlich Christine Sievers @mariekewoe, accepted in PhilTrans B 🧵

In this paper we consider the awesome flexibility of communicative repair in human interaction and take a peek under the hood. We ask: what elementary building blocks make this possible?

We find that several of the building blocks are found across species —from gibbons apparently self-correcting to chimps & bonobos showing persistence and elaboration— and introduce a conceptual framework that we hope will foster further comparative work

I've been interested in this topic ever since observing (in that ways of dealing with communicative trouble pattern within & across species in interesting ways. This year serendipity struck and we were able to get to it with an interdisciplinary team

It was great to work on this with @rapha_heesen @MarlenFroehlich Christine Sievers and @mariekewoe — between us, we represent (at least) psychology, anthropology, primatology, philosophy, psychobiology and the language sciences, which made things all the more fun and interesting

Anyway, while we still seem to have a joint focus of attention, let me just drop this link here again, which (as you can read in the paper) may be a form of persistence if not elaboration — go check it out!

One thing we found is that outside primates, research on sequentially organized social interaction is still rare — most work focuses on acoustics, song structure & ethograms rather than on contingency, sequence & interactional achievement. Lots of opportunities for exciting work!

As we point out in the paper, sequential analysis allows us to unify work on persistence & elaboration in great apes w/ work on repair in humans; and to identify possible continuities or bridging contexts, such as the freeze-look described by @elycorman and @njenfield

One risk of introducing a 'framework' is that it may be interpreted as proposing a simple matrix of ready-to-use labels for reified phenomena. Our goal here is different: we seek to make visible a space of possibilities with room for diversity & gradience

Finally out in print! 📄
🔓 PDF:

Cover page of paper showing title "Coordinating social action: a primer for the cross-species investigation of communicative repair", by authors Raphaela Heesen, Marlen Fröhlich, Christine Sievers, Marieke Woensdregt and Mark Dingemanse

Primates 🦧🧑 are cool, but if there is one thing that I hope our paper will help contribute to it would be a broader interactive turn in communicative ethology across species 🐳🐠🐘🐦🦇 : from signals and their properties to sequential exchanges as an interactional achievement.

Originally tweeted by @dingemansemark (@DingemanseMark) on December 15, 2021.

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