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Harold Bekkering

WP4 Language in action

Harold Bekkering is professor of Cognitive Psychology at Radboud University Nijmegen, and Board member of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.

His research focuses on the Perception and Production of Goal-directed Actions particularly in the context of Social Interaction. How do we use semantic knowledge about objects and agents to initiate our own actions, and how do we use this knowledge to predict the actions of others? How do we selective imitate a model and what can social learning teach us above individual learning? What is the role of language in learning about the world and agents in that world, are some of the key questions that his group has been investigating.

Harold Bekkering disseminates his research knowledge into three societal fields; Robotics, Education and Health. Within Robotics he has been leading Integrated EU-Projects on Joint Action and Imitation, i.e., how can a robot learn to socially interact with a human agent in an intelligent manner. Within Education he has focused on the question how own experiences can contribute to the learning of language and number representations. Within Health, his work has concentrated on the question why people within the autism spectrum experience social interaction difficulties? Moreover, he has often contributed to public debates, lectures and media performances about these and other topics within Cognitive Neuroscience.

He is Work-package leader of WP4, Language in Action and actively involved in ongoing projects that try to understand the intrinsic relation between linguistic and sensorimotor contributions in social communication and goal-directed actions.

 For more information on Harold Bekkering, please visit his personal website.