Keywords: social cognition; social neuroscience; artificial intelligence; virtual reality; social robotics
Social interactions are fundamental to the human experience, shaping how we live, learn and work. The COVID-19 pandemic – which has changed the way millions of people coordinate, cooperate and connect with others – highlights the intensifying importance of investigating the neurocognitive mechanisms that allow us to interact with others, and the consequences of achieving social connection. The last decade has seen significant progress in this empirical pursuit with the advent of new technologies enabling the full complexity of spontaneous, dynamic and reciprocal interactions to be scrutinized with scientific rigor and objectivity. This symposium brings together researchers from intersecting fields of social neuroscience and ecological psychology to discuss new approaches, challenges and insights gained in interactive cognition research. Presentations showcase diverse yet complementary methods for studying how social information is perceived, processed and signaled by individuals to navigate social encounters. They also explore human and technological factors that shape the outcomes of social interactions in various contexts, including in situ physical interactions, online interactions, embodied virtual interactions and human-robot interactions. Together, this symposium aims to stimulate discussions about the future of interactive cognition research, given the ever-evolving nature of social interactions in our modern world, and the technologies available to both study and support them.