Modelling social interaction as perceptual crossing: an investigation into the dynamics of the interaction process

This paper continues efforts to establish a mutually informative dialogue between psychology and
evolutionary robotics in order to investigate the dynamics of social interaction. We replicate a recent simulation model of a minimalist experiment in perceptual crossing and confirm the results with significantly simpler artificial agents. A series of psycho-physical tests of their behaviour informs a hypothetical circuit model of their internal operation. However, a detailed study of the actual internal dynamics reveals this circuit model to be unfounded, thereby offering a tale of caution for those hypothesising about subpersonal processes in terms of behavioural observations. In particular, it is shown that the behaviour of the agents largely emerges out of the interaction process itself rather than being an individual achievement alone. We also extend the original simulation model in two novel directions in order to test further the extent to which perceptual crossing between agents can self-organise in a robust manner. These modelling results suggest new hypotheses that can become the basis for further psychological experiments.

Froese, T. and Di Paolo, E. A. (2010) Modelling social interaction as perceptual crossing: an investigation into the dynamics of the interaction process, Connection Science, 22(1): 43 – 68.

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