Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Intercorporeality and aida (Tanaka, 2017)

My new article was just published on Theory & Psychology.

Tanaka, S. (2017).
Intercorporeality and aida: Developing an interaction theory of social cognition.

It is still available online, but will appear in a printed issue in a few months. For those who are interested, here I include the abstract and keywords. As far as I know, this is the first paper that refers to Kimura's notion of aida in the field of social cognition. I tried to develop the so-called "interaction theory" by way of this notion.

Abstract:
The aim of this article is to develop an interaction theory (IT) of social cognition. The central issue in the field of social cognition has been theory of mind (ToM), and there has been debate regarding its nature as either theory-theory or as simulation theory. Insights from phenomenology have brought a second-person perspective based on embodied interactions into the debate, thereby forming a third position known as IT. In this article, I examine how IT can be further elaborated by drawing on two phenomenological notions—Merleau-Ponty’s intercorporeality and Kimura’s aida. Both of these notions emphasize the sensory-motor, perceptual, and non-conceptual aspects of social understanding and describe a process of interpersonal coordination in which embodied interaction gains autonomy as an emergent system. From this perspective, detailed and nuanced social understanding is made possible through the embodied skill of synchronizing with others.

Keywords:
social cognition, phenomenology, interaction theory, intercorporeality, aida


Friday, February 10, 2017

March 3-4, Civilization Dialogue in Denmark

We will have a two-day international symposium titled "Civilization Dialogue," in Vedbaek, Denmark. This is the second time for us to organize this event.

Now you can see the detailed program here at the website of Centre for Cultural Psychology (Aalborg University).
In two days, we have two keynotes, two symposia, two lectures. We will also have a joint students seminar between Aalborg University and Tokai University, though it is not included in the official program.
 
This time, the event is realized by collaboration between the Centre for Cultural Psychology (Aalborg U) and the Institute of Civilization Research (Tokai U). So, this symposium means not only the dialogue between "Europe and Japan" but also the dialogue between "Culture and Civilization."

I look forward the keynote by Prof. Jaan Valsiner. It's titled, “The world is one: Through Einfühlung towards civility of human existence.” This title surely embraces "Europe and Japan" and "Culture and Civilization."

See you in Vedbaek.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

the unrealized talk

I was going to attend and talk at this event last year, but I couldn't realize my visit for my own personal problem. This is one of the most unpleasant (and also unexpected) things that happened to me in 2016. Here I storage the abstract of my unrealized talk. I hope that I have another opportunity to realize this talk in the future.
 
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[Title] Reconnecting the self to the divine: The body’s role in religious experience

[Abstract]
In this presentation, I would like to explore spontaneous religious experiences. The term “spontaneous” is used to mean experiences that can happen without religious beliefs, outside religious institutions, or away from religious traditions, but still have a religious nature. They include among others, the feeling of unity with nature when watching a beautiful sunset, the experience of peak performance in sports as if someone else were perfectly controlling our bodily movements, and the sudden ecstatic sensation aroused by listening to a harmonious chorus. Such perceptual experiences are intense enough to awaken spiritual feelings, although they are not always recognized as “religious” for lack of proper context. Thus, experiences of this kind do not seem to have a religious nature in the ordinary sense, however, they do have a religious nature in an etymological sense: These experiences re- (again) -ligare (connect) the self and something beyond the self. What is experienced as “something beyond the self” in these cases might be the primordial source of divinity underlying all sorts of religious activities. My goal is to further explore the experience of divinity from the perspective of the embodied self, especially in terms of the sense of agency. As is well known, William James (1902) listed passivity as one of the four marks of mystical experiences. The person feels as if his/her actions are guided by an “Other,” while maintaining the sense of agency for actions. In my view, this alteration in the sense of agency originates in the function of body schema, which enables us to coordinate bodily actions toward the environment. In particular, when the body is thrown into an unfamiliar situation, body schema organizes new bodily actions beyond one’s intentions and expectations. During spontaneous religious experiences as well, the body operates beyond one’s intentions and expectations, as if following the Other’s will.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

preparing for the event in March

We are going to have a two-day conference at the Tokai University European Center in Denmark, in March 3-4. As a part of the conference, I will organize a symposium on Cultural Psychology, titled "Individuality-Collectivity and Culture."

[Symposium: Individuality-Collectivity and Culture]
March 3, at TUEC
Individuality and collectivity are considered two fundamental modes of human experiences in social contexts. We feel that others cannot be held responsible for making serious choices in life, such as choosing a partner or switching careers, and therefore, we experience ourselves as individuals. In contrast, when we have a strong sense of belonging to a group, such as to our family, to the local community, or a religious organization, we tend to act as if we are conforming to the will of the group and we experience ourselves as a part of a collective. In the field of cross-cultural psychology, there is a widely held association of Western cultures with individualism and Eastern (or more generally, non-Western) cultures with collectivism. However, it is possible that humans are open to individualistic, as well as collectivistic experiences, regardless of their cultural background. In this symposium, we will combine diverse perspectives and attempt to explicate how human experiences of individuality and collectivity are related to culture.
  
Personally, I do not agree with the association of Western cultures with individualism and Eastern (or non-Western) cultures with collectivism. In the symposium, I would like to demonstrate that both individuality and collectivity are two compatible modes of human experiences from the perspective of phenomenology (especially that of embodiment). 

Prof. Luca Tateo (Aalborg University) and Prof. Gordana Jovanovic (University of Belgrade) are going to take part in the symposium. I look forward to sharing the discussion between Cultural Psychology and Phenomenology.