MEDIT Seminar: Intimate dynamics of facing the other as a model of predictive processes? A neurocinematic approach

Speaker: Pia Tikka (Tallinn University)
Time: September 7 (Thursday) at 15:30-17:00
Place: N-416


There is a general lack of understanding non-verbal aspects of person-to-person encounter, the omnipresent phenomenon of everyday, in which predictive processes can be assumed to play significant role. I propose to study this phenomenon based on following premises: 1) cinema narrative as a model of life situations, 2) psychophysiological measures as a window to the holistic and the unspoken, and 3) face-to-face communication with an artificial screen character as a means to model the dynamics of an active non-verbal encounter in controlled conditions.

The rationale is that face-to-face communication without context does not suffice to establish a meaningful communication, but rather that it requires a context, or a narrative, to establish the shared sense of being there together. Contexts provide the framing for cognitive prediction. Hence, the holistic understanding of person-to-person encounter can be studied by developing means of taking into account narrative time and context dependence, and by adopting a recursive dynamic model of mutual influence at the encounter.

In such naturalistic endeavors as neurocinematics or neuroesthetics, one needs to develop more effective methods for analysis of complex content (drama) in relation to the dynamical context-dependent meaning construction. As a case study I will discuss modeling of a humanlike screen character, whose facial behavior can be controlled parametrically to simulate common cultural and societal patterns. In my view, its deliberately designed intimate facial dynamics can be argued, in one hand, to model, and, in the other, to drive human predictive meaning-making in the face-to-face interaction situations.

About the speaker

Dr. Pia Tikka is a filmmaker and scholar, who is joining MEDIT this year after winning Estonian Research Council’s Top Researcher Grant. She was previously the Principal Investigator for Aalto University's NeuroCine project. Dr. Tikka has directed a number of feature films. Her projects, most notably Enactive Cinema, have been exhibited internationally and won awards such as the Möbius Prix Nordic prize for interactive storytelling in 2005.

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