SC6: Self and Others in Communication


Conversation consists of much more than a simple interchange of spoken words. When people communicate, they often adapt their interaction styles to one another. For example, they may match each other’s behaviour, synchronize the timing of their behaviour, or behave in opposite ways.
This course brings together research from the fields of linguistics, neuroscience, ethology, VR, psychology and psychiatry, to reflect a multidisciplinary interest in the topic of nonverbal communicative interaction and to show that different viewpoints can offer valuable insights into the variety of intricate behavioural codes used in social interaction.


The course will examine current theories, definitions of terms and scientific evidence on communicative social interaction, as well as operational issues and statistical analysis procedures.
Conceptually, the aim would be to offer an overview of current theories that attempt to explain communicative social interactions and to develop a unified set of definitions of terms that are otherwise used ambiguously.
Methodologically, the aim of the course is to discuss pros and cons of different experimental designs and statistical analyses for the investigation of communicative interactions.


Burgoon, J. K., Dillman, L., & Stem, L. A. (1993). Adaptation in dyadic interaction: Defining and operationalizing patterns of reciprocity and compensation. Communication Theory, 3(4), 295-316.

Konvalinka, I., & Roepstorff, A. (2012). The two-brain approach: how can mutually interacting brains teach us something about social interaction?. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 6.

Keller, P. E., Novembre, G., & Hove, M. J. (2014). Rhythm in joint action: psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms for real-time interpersonal coordination. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 369(1658), 20130394.

Course location


Course requirements


Instructor information.

Alexandra Georgescu


Alexandra is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Social Neuroscience Group at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London. Her research interests lie in the investigation of the perception and production of nonverbal behavior in social interaction and its underlying neural mechanisms in typical development and autism spectrum disorders. To study social interaction, she uses behavioral and neuroimaging tools, like fMRI and fNIRS, eye-tracking, motion capture and virtual character animation.