According to the prevailing paradigm in social-cognitive neuroscience, the mental states of individuals become shared when they adapt to each other in the pursuit of a shared goal. We challenge this view by proposing an alternative approach to the cognitive foundations of social interactions. The central claim of this paper is that social cognition concerns the graded and dynamic process of alignment of individual minds, even in the absence of a shared goal. When individuals reciprocally exchange information about each other's (...) minds processes of alignment unfold over time and across space, creating a social interaction. Not all cases of joint action involve such reciprocal exchange of information. To understand the nature of social interactions, then, we propose that attention should be focused on the manner in which people align words and thoughts, bodily postures and movements, in order to take one another into account and to make full use of socially relevant information. (shrink)
As Van Dijk proposed in the first issue of Discourse and Communication, the main purpose of this journal is to bridge the two cross-disciplines of communication and discourse studies. Given this goal, this article sought to help clear the ground for such interdisciplinary development by investigating how organizational researchers use the terms `discourse' and `communication' and cast discourse—communication relationships. By reviewing 112 organizational discourse studies from major journals in communication, organizational studies, and interdisciplinary journals published between 1981 and 2006, this (...) study identified diverse conceptualizations of these basic concepts. The findings help dispel some of the misunderstandings that scholars from one research field may possess toward the other and sort through some, if not all, the confusions regarding the terms `discourse', `communication', and their relationships. (shrink)
Ontological and methodological constraints on a theory of cognition that would generalize across species are identified. Within these constraints, ecological arguments for animal-environment mutuality and reciprocity and the necessary specificity of structured energy distributions to environmental facts are developed as counterpoints to the classical doctrines of animal-environment dualism and intractable nonspecificity. Implications of and for a cognitive theory consistent with Gibson's programme of ecological psychology are identified and contrasted with contemporary cognitivism.