M. Kimmel, D. Hristova.The micro-phenomenology of embodied interaction expertise

Tuesday, 13 September, 2016 - 15:30 to 17:00

The talk surveys how to research sophisticated interaction skills in dance, martial arts, sports, bodywork, and related somatic skills. These domains involve variable repertoires, open task structure, and improvisation, yet also require actions to be precise and perfectly coordinated, while agents remain poised for multiple futures. The first part of the talk provides an overview of the demands such skills impose. Notably, constraints of motor control, dynamic interaction management, and improvised decision-making must be met simultaneously. These aspects are heavily co-dependent, but can in part compensate for one another. Furthermore, we discuss what difference global variables of the task ecology such as cooperative vs. adversarial interaction and leader-follower vs. symmetric interaction make. Next, we survey micro-skills that experts learn to co-assemble, including situation awareness, “smart” perception, using and balancing multiple control laws, and “good tricks” that exploit the continuity of the enactive inter-body coupling. These short-lived skills are complemented by higher-timescale abilities such as pre-calibrating the body for preparedness, dyadic interaction “grammar”, and skills for boosting self-organization. Finally, we demonstrate how to harvest implicit expert knowledge. The thinking-aloud methods we use dissect interaction in micro-genetic detail and capture micro-coordination, synergies both within and between bodies, decision points, and the soft-assembly of creative solutions. This approach is contrasted with a motion capture study to show how these two angles can complement each other.


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