Investigating cognitive mechanisms of social interaction through musical joint action
Heimerich, M., Hardekopf, B., Kaiser, K., Bullert, S., Irnich, L., Troidl, K., Severijns, K., Kierdorf, S. & Asano, R. (2016). Investigating cognitive mechanisms of social interaction through musical joint action. In The 9th International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology (SysMus16), Jyväskylän yliopisto, June 8-10 2016 : programme, abstracts & proceedings. Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä & Finnish Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research. Retrieved from http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-6708-6
© the Authors & International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology, 2016.
Contagion, Empathy and Theory of Mind (ToM) are important social cognitive mechanisms that develop gradually in human ontogeny, enabling humans to interact with other human beings in a complex manner. However, the development of cognitive mechanisms for early social interaction is still underexplored. Therefore, the aim of the current paper is to investigate these mechanisms in a broader range from a theoretical as well as empirical perspective. In particular, we propose a musiccentered approach, which allows us to investigate cognitive mechanisms of social interaction independently of children’s language skills in a musical joint action setting. In our theoretical part, we delineate the social cognitive mechanisms, namely contagion, empathy and ToM. Especially, we suggest emergence of joint attention around nine months in ontogeny as a mile stone of the social cognitive development. Further, we propose that joint attentional skills scaffold empathy and ToM and are necessary to enable complex social communicative behaviors such as joint action. Our empirical part focuses on joint attentional behaviors and explores these in musical joint action of children of different age-groups (1.5–2.5 y; 3–4 y; 5–6 y) by using structured observation of video-recordings. The observation session takes place in a regular lesson of music education for young children, which includes interactive clapping, dancing and other rhythmic and musical gestures under the guidance of a tutor. Results of analyzing indicators of social interactions such as gaze following, mimicry, gestures, and intra- and inter-individual synchronization will be presented. It is claimed that investigating musical joint action provides a new possibility to explore how increasingly complex social cognitive mechanisms emerge in human ontogeny in social communicative behaviors across a wide range of age and adds to current methods in social cognitive neuroscience. ...