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Tobias Winner

WP1 Speech perception and production & WP4 Language in Action

Tobias Winner is a PhD student at the Centre for Cognition of the Donders Centre for Brain, Cognition and Behavior.
His research within the Language in Interaction Consortium focuses on the neurocomputational mechanisms of communicative pointing.

Pointing can serve instrumental goals (‘pointing to press a button’) or communicative goals (‘pointing to indicate to someone else which button to press’). While both kinds of movement rely on the same set of effectors and have a similar global appearance, there is some experimental evidence for differences in their detailed kinematics. In particular, communicative pointing movements follow trajectories that depend on the position of the observer. This raises the question how and at what level communicative context influences the planning and control of communicative movements.

Applying computational modeling as well as behavioral and neuroimaging techniques, this project investigates communicative pointing as an optimal feedback control problem. The overarching question is how communicative actions are planned and to what extent they rely on similar control mechanisms as instrumental actions. Answering this question for communicative pointing may help bridging a large theoretical gap between high-level cognitive processes involved in communication and the more basic mechanisms of motor control.

More information on Tobias' PhD project.