Interdisciplinary Workshop on Movement Grammars: Brains, Robots and Dance

Barakova, E. I. (Organiser), R.E.A. van Berkel (Organiser), Steven Batts (Organiser), Carlos Herrera Perez (Organiser), Sarah Whatley (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesWorkshop, seminar, course or exhibitionScientific


Humans convey meaning not only through speech or written language, but also through bodily movement. Body language and non-verbal communication are rich sources of meaning and can account for the majority of information transmitted during interpersonal interactions. Humans also have the natural ability to receive such information, to interpret and apply it effortlessly in everyday interactions. Yet, we know very little about how this is achieved. The primary question we deal with is on how movement contains and expresses meaning, and what we are sensitised to when we look for meaning in movement. A systematization of how different characteristics of movement contribute to meaning would be extremely useful for neuroscience and the development of robotics and new social/interactive technologies. Our hypothesis is that such systematization can be approached as form of grammar. This hypothesis emerges from the neuroscientific literature (Rizzolatti and Arbib 1998), but is also present in robotics (Nishimoto & Tani 2009) and in dance science. This workshop brings together experts in neuroscience, cognitive science, robotics, linguistics, and dance in order to advance an interdisciplinary framework for dealing with meaning in movement through the development of a grammatical system. The workshop will include practical dance sessions in which scientists and technologists will be given insight, through watching and producing movement in the studio, on the principles that govern meaning in movement, including the dynamic aspects of phrasing, specific spatial and embodied elements, and the harmonics of the different components. This experiential knowledge in the dance context will be the basis for the development of a grammar system for movement, aimed to be a valid tool both in neuroscience as in the development of new technologies (its range of application is everyday movement not just dance). Thus we will, as we go along, identify different ways the resulting grammar may contribute to and be validated in experimental work in these fields.
Period4 Jun 20188 Jun 2018
Event typeWorkshop
LocationLeiden, Netherlands