|From Communication to Presence
Cognition, Emotions and Culture towards the Ultimate Communicative Experience
Festschrift in honor of Luigi Anolli
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
University of Barcelona
Interactive Media Institute
San Diego, CA, USA
University of Milan-Bicocca
By nature, meaning design is not a homogeneous and univocal representation of reality but has an intrinsically composite character. Such hybrid theory of meaning entails that many aspects of meaning should be explained resorting to different layers and components of communication involving cognitive principles, knowledge factors, subjective experiences, and interactional principles, and no doubt much besides. Grice was essentially correct in thinking of meaning as a composite notion. The full meaning of an utterance may only be captured by considering different kinds of content: what is said, what is conventionally implicated, and what is presupposed.
If there is one prerequisite that is critical for education, it is the need to communicate clearly and effectively. Communication is the core activity for an educator, conveying and sharing information from one person to another, from one organisation to another - or a combination of both. Professor Luigi Anolli has been one of the most distinguished leaders in the field of communication psychology in the past three decades through his contributions and his deep influence on many researchers and colleagues. Throughout his long career, he has made fundamental and profound contributions to various areas of psychology, including communication, emotion and culture psychology.
Luigi is one of the pioneers in the psychological study of miscommunication. Overcoming the traditional concept of miscommunication as a lack, fault and violation of rules, he has advanced modern communication psychology in a unique and far reaching manner. In this perspective, detailed in his Miscommunication as Chance Theory (MaCHT), communication sets up a unique and global category, which definitely includes miscommunication phenomena as important objects of investigation. Luigi also had a significant impact on defining and applying advanced techniques to understand and analyze a broad range of communicative and emotional phenomena - from Irony and Deception to Shame - throughout the physiological parameters, vocal nonverbal features, facial expression and posture emerging within a communicative interaction.
Luigi's work has been seminal in a broad spectrum of psychological research; not only has he settled a long list of critical questions but he has also opened new directions of research which have inspired students and colleagues throughout the world. His most recent contributions are related to the psychology of culture described as the "natural" horizon of communication. Luigi's research, as well as the one of his colleagues over the years, have highlighted the importance of culture in understanding human behavior. Increasingly intrigued by culture, over a decade ago he started to review the cross-cultural literature in all areas of psychology. Soon he realized that culture played an important role for understanding communication, gradually recognizing its pervasive and profound influence on psychological processes in all areas of functioning.
The method, context, structure, language, knowledge and an understanding of the needs of the recipients to whom the information is being transmitted are vital in understanding the importance of communication in a culture. Without a proper understanding of the complex and dynamic process of meaning co-construction and sharing, the communication between different cultures will be very difficult.
Like many other colleagues, I have benefited from his presence and from his generous help. In the summer of 2004, Luigi Anolli joined my Faculty at the University of Milan-Bicocca where he founded the Centre for Studies in Communication Science (CESCOM).
The chapters in this book are authored by colleagues and friends of Luigi and the topics covered are closely related to Luigi's research. In fact, the contributions included in this festschrift encompass a series of topics in communication psychology to which he contributed directly, exhibited an abiding interest, and/or supported indirectly through his role as Director of the CESCOM.
I am very grateful to all the authors who have contributed their excellent theoretical and research chapters to this book. At this occasion, I would like to express my deepest friendship and gratitude to Luigi Anolli and to wish him many more happy and productive years ahead.
Prof. Susanna Mantovani
We want to overcome the Gricean distinction between “what is said” and “what is meant (or implicated)”. The essential thing is “what is communicated”, and this cannot be conceived simply as the sum of “what is said” plus “what is meant”. What is communicated subsumes both what is said and what is meant, but it is also more than that and different from that. We ought to overcome the distinction between sentence-meaning and utterance-meaning, since meaning, in any case, is a unitary totality of what is communicated, though it is neither monolithic nor rigid, but composite and flexibly organized within itself.
It is our pleasure to present this work, entitled From Communication to Presence. Cognition, Emotions and Culture towards the Ultimate Communicative Experience, which is published by IOS Press as part of its prestigious Emerging Communication series.
In the first place, we praise the initiative for being a publication made in honour of the eminent professor Luigi Anolli, Full Professor in Communication Psychology at the University of Milan-Bicocca. To Luigi Anolli, an exceptional human being, for decades a teacher among teachers, the author of over 150 publications, and an international reference in the field of communication psychology (to which he has dedicated so much of his life, sharing this interest with other fields, such as visual perception or, more recently, emotion psychology), we offer our warmest regards and dedication together with our gratitude for having shared with his wisdom and friendship, and express our desire to continue doing so.
The thematic area of communication, ancient in its origin, yet always emerging in its treatment from new perspectives, reveals to us in this work interesting aspects that converge upon each other, based on a comprehensive conception of human communication, a complex phenomenon that is apparently inherent to human beings, but which is often empty, without content and of which only its appearance or formal structure is maintained. Its potential is immeasurable and it would really be difficult for us to imagine a society, or a human group, in which its members systematically displayed cognitive, emotional or cultural shortcomings.
Methodologically speaking, human communication presents unquestionable difficulties, which basically originate from the complexity that accompanies expressive subtlety, multimodality, interpretative issues, the establishment of conventional units in a communicative situation, or even, the setting of appropriately delimited scientific objectives, considering the communicative act as a whole. Such difficulties are maximised during the delicate phase of obtaining data, given the inevitable need to present objectively and without simplification a multilevel reality that we capture in systems of codes. With regard to data analysis, a whole host of possible options has emerged, and the detection of temporal patterns such as T-Patterns, towards which numerous research projects have been channelled, offers us the possibility of taking decisions around the critical interval, allows us to navigate through the temporal patterns obtained, establishing the filters considered most appropriate, while making it possible for us to interpret each dendogram obtained. Undoubtedly, the multidimensional nature of the communication phenomenon requires a careful and precise procedural treatment.
The work is well structured and offers an overall perspective of communication in which the different areas are interconnected in order to provide a broad understanding of communication through its link with “presence”. It starts out discussing the possible route from media presence to inner presence. Then goes on to study the approach of the triad made up of emotion, culture and cognition in communication, and concludes with a section about communication and presence in practice.
In conclusion, the reading has an extremely rich and interesting approach, and we hope that the reader will positively value its content. In particular, the chapters will allow the reader to flourish in personal contributions and new advances in an area as fertile as communication. The task of developing skills in this field is not complete, and this work represents, in its own way, a new stimulus we positively value and encourage.
M. Teresa Anguera, Ph.D.
Meaning is a marvellous and dreadful matter, as it is neither totally intelligible nor totally unintelligible. It cannot be considered as a univocal, closed and fixed entity, atomic in nature, universally shared and invariable in time. Rather, meaning has a complex design, composed by different facets: a referential, an inferential, and a differential one. This standpoint, which overcomes the truth-conditional semantics as well as the structural one, entails that meaning is patterned in nature, based on the encyclopaedic knowledge and connected with mental concepts.
The contributions collected in this book are a Festschrift in honor of Luigi Anolli, a great scholar and communication researcher. Luigi Anolli has had, and continues to have, a remarkable career, one in which his commitment to interdisciplinary study stands out.
His ties to the psychological research date back as far as 1977, when he was appointed external professor of Applied Psychology at the Catholic University of Milan. At that time, his research activity focused on visual perception. Nine years later, in 1986, he was awarded a Social Psychology chair at
Since the Nineties, his scientific interests have been focused on communication and emotion psychology. Continuing his involvement in new approaches to establishing interdisciplinary connections, he particularly deepened deception and irony in communication. In the former he proposed the Deceptive Miscommunication Theory (DeMiT) as a new model for the analysis of deceptive communication. In the latter, starting from the distinction between kind and sarcastic irony, Luigi Anolli advanced the so-called "fencing game" model as a specific way of irony in communication.
Within communication domain, he gave special attention to nonverbal communication (vocal, facial expressions, gestures and body posture) as well as to new devices for non-verbal behavior analysis. Main results of his work in this area are the concepts of "modal meaning" and semantic and pragmatic tuning.
The development of communication study led him to identify the psychology of culture as "natural" horizon of communication, overcoming the dichotomized distinction between nature and nurture (gene-culture). In particular, Luigi Anolli proposed a new perspective of culture, as a domain-general device both internal (in the minds) and external (out of the minds) able to manage every specific-domain of life.
His most recent topics of interest concern on one side, the analysis of optimism as a cross point between positive emotions and subjective well-being, on the other side the concept of multicultural mind.
The book draws from the work of Luigi Anolli the criticism towards the nature/nurture distinction. It has been thought that any outcome of the development of individuals (personality, intelligence, physical appearance, etc.) is caused mostly, if not entirely, by either inheritance (genes) or learning (environment). Even if this distinction is now fairly widely known to be faulty, the critical part is to understand how nature and nurture interact. The writings of Prof. Anolli suggest four interdependent levels of analysis: genetic activity, neural activity, behavior, and environmental influences. In particular, he claims that in the communicative and cultural processes these levels are coactive and bidirectional; that is, in communication all levels mutually influence each other.
For this reason, the study of communication is a special setting for understanding how these processes interact. Specifically, Prof. Anolli underlined the critical role played by non-verbal communication: it subsumes several categories of human expressiveness such as facial displays (including eye contact and gaze behavior), gesture and body movement, posture and proxemics, touch, human spacing and territorial behavior, and vocal and paralinguistic behavior. Through their analysis it is possible to investigate three key dimensions of interpersonal relationships: immediacy (how positive or close individuals feel toward others), status (whether individuals have higher, equal, or lower standing with respect to others), and responsiveness (how active and focused an individual’s communication is).
The emergence of new media made this analysis even more complex. In the latest media - high definition TV, computer games and, especially, Virtual Reality the user is no more a passive receiver but fully experiences the media content: he is present in it.
The book, accepting the difficult challenge taken by Luigi Anolli, tries to outline a unitary theory of interpersonal relationship where communication and presence are simply the two faces of the same coin: intersubjective experience. In particular, the main message of the book is the following: the cooperative activities are created and governed by a reciprocal intentional game between the communicators regulated by the level of presence experienced by the interactants: the display and ostension of a given intention by the speaker ("intentionalization" process) and the ascription and attribution of a certain intention to him/her by the addressee ("re-intentionalization" process).
As suggested by Prof. Anolli, Miscommunication has a central role in these processes. This is why this book tries to provide the reader with worthwhile options for a vast array of specific communicative contexts leisure, learning and therapy - and discusses the theories and methods needed to understand them. After completing this text, the reader should thus be better equipped to make more reasoned and more effective communication decisions. We have put a great deal of thought and effort into the definition of the structure of the book and the sequence of the contributions, so that those in search of a specific reading path will be rewarded. To this end we have divided the book into four main Sections comprising 14 chapters overall:
The starting point of the book is the assumption that a viable theory of interpersonal relationship has also to explain the link between communication and presence the feeling of being there.
Following this perspective, in Section I - Communication and Presence: Their Relationship the Chapter 1 by Mantovani and colleagues opens a discussion on the links and reciprocal contributions between communication and presence, by arguing that they might be identified and analyzed at three levels: theoretical, methodological and applicative.
In Section II - From Presence to Communication: Inner Presence vs. Media Presence the attention of the authors moves to the analysis of what presence is and how it can be used to better understand our personal and interpersonal activities.
Coelho and colleagues in Chapter 2 analyze the two different but coexisting visions of presence found in literature: the rationalist and the psychological/ecological points of view. The rationalist point of view considers a VR system as a collection of specific machines with the necessity of the inclusion of the concept of presence. The researchers agreeing with this approach describe the sense of presence as a function of the experience of a given medium (Media Presence). At the other extreme, there is the psychological or ecological perspective (Inner Presence). Specifically, this perspective considers presence as a neuropsychological phenomenon, evolved from the interplay of our biological and cultural inheritance, whose goal is the control of the human activity.
Riva in Chapter 3 focuses on the ecological perspective. He argues that different visions from social and cognitive sciences Situated Cognition, Embodied Cognition, Enactive Approach, Situated Simulation, Covert Imitation - and discoveries from neuroscience Mirror and Canonical Neurons - suggest that our conceptual system dynamically produces contextualized representations (simulations) that support grounded action in different situations. In this picture the role of presence and social presence is to allow the process of self-identification through the separation between “self” and “other,” and between “internal” and “external”.
Chapter 4 by Waterworth and Waterworth, expands on the general notion of presence as a dimension of communication, and describes how this perspective can inform an understanding of designed variations in presence as a function of use, context, and individual psychological factors. The chapter underlines that the presence required in a communicative situation depends on many factors, including the communication devices available, the intended use and the context of use. In addition, differences between individuals, such as personality, as well as physical and psychological state, will affect how readily presence is invoked and also its impact on the individual concerned.
Moller and Barbera, in Chapter 5 suggest that dreaming consciousness may be considered the most archetypal form of media technology, and discuss dreams as a useful metaphor for virtual reality. They argue that presence can be equally compelling whether experienced via self-generated simulation during the process of dreaming, or through an externally generated media simulation. A speculative therapeutic approach, “dream simulation therapy”, is discussed as a future possible area of study.
Section III - From Communication to Presence: Emotion, Cognition and Culture presents a framework for the analysis of Communication in terms of the main cognitive, emotive and cultural processes.
Magnusson, in Chapter 6 underlines how patterns in behavior are frequently hidden from the consciousness of those who perform them, as well as to unaided observers. Considering this as a fact, the chapter presents a method t-system - for defining and discovering repeated temporal patterns - t-pattern - in behavior with a special focus on interactive behavior.
Chapter 7 by Ciceri and Biassoni, considers the vocal interaction in a multicomponential perspective, both as a multilayered phenomenon in itself and as one component in wider interactive patterns. Starting from this perspective the authors present an analysis model that handles both the complexity of the vocal act and its being-in-context in the interactive flow. Two different vocal interactions are then examined using it: a human face-to-face interaction and another one between an Embodied Conversational Agent and its user.
Li and Roloff in Chapter 8 present an overview of the actual research on emotion in negotiation that integrates cognitive, affective, and cultural aspects. The chapter addressed the following issues: the effects of mood and emotion on negotiator cognition and performance and the potential of emotion as a negotiation strategy; individual differences in emotional expression and individual traits, such as self-monitoring and emotional intelligence, that impact on the use of strategic emotion; and cultural influences on negotiation and on emotional experience and expression.
Jonsson discusses in Chapter 9 the idea that face-to-face interaction can be construed as having a definite organization or structure, just as language is understood in terms of its grammar. In particular he suggests that the structure of interaction is related to the personality traits of the subject. This position is tested through the analysis of real-time patterns in twenty-four dyadic interactions between male students.
Chapter 10 by Anguera and Izquierdo, presents an overview of different methodological process whose aim is the objective observation of perceivable communicative behavior. Specifically the authors suggest how the methodological options available within scientific observation, both qualitative and quantitative, can be used to approach a number of problems in the field of human communication research.
Deepening this topic, Agliati and colleagues present in Chapter
The final section, Section IV - Communication and Presence in Practice: Leisure, Therapy and Learning, is devoted to the analysis of the interaction between Communication and Presence within three different contexts: leisure, therapy and learning.
Chapter 12 by Thon, describes multiplayer first-person-shooter games as a form of computer-mediated communication (CMC). Within this general context, the chapter examines these games showing that it is possible to understand the large amounts of social-emotionally oriented communication happening in them as a form of miscommunication.
Wiederhold and Wiederhold discuss in Chapter 13 how virtual reality driving simulators may be used as an aid to traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of a variety of driving-related disorders. Clinical applications include specific driving phobias, driving phobias related to panic and agoraphobia, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of motor vehicle accidents. Another presented application is the neurorehabilitation for individuals who have sustained various brain injuries.
Chapter 14 by Realdon and colleagues, details how communication skills could be learned through computer-based interactive simulations. First, a definition of communication skills is proposed. Second, a framework for building interactive simulations is presented. Finally, a road map for building e-learning simulations specifically targeted at the training of communication skills is sketched out, focusing on the development of a narrative structure that adequately reduplicates the flow of the communicative interaction.
The fourteen contributions selected are among the first scientific attempts to take a serious look at the interaction between communication and presence. However, the authors did not start from scratch but draw from the vision coming out from both Prof. Anolli writings and the ones from his disciples.
For this reason, through this book we thank Luigi Anolli for his years of generous, wise advice, to us and to his many other students and colleagues. No effort shall be made here to evaluate and praise his many merits as a teacher and researcher in communication, emotion, culture and other fields. We only wish to express our gratitude for both the friendship and generous support offered to those who have known him for a long time, and his kind and open manner towards those who have joined this research area more recently.
His deep knowledge and understanding of what communication is and what it should be will remain a major source of inspiration to all those who take a genuine interest in the field. Grazie Luigi.
Fabrizia Mantovani, Ph.D.
To download chapters:
1. Communication Presence Roundtrip: Travelling Along Theoretical, Methodological and Applicative Connections
2. Media Presence and Inner Presence: The Sense of Presence in Virtual Reality Technologies
3. “Being-in-the-world-with”: Inner Presence Meets Social and Cognitive Neuroscience
4. Presence as a Dimension of Communication: Context of Use and the Person
5. Media Presence, Consciousness and Dreaming
6. Structure and Communication in Interaction
7. Zooming on Multimodality and Attuning: A Multilayer Model for the Analysis of the Vocal Act in Conversational Interactions
8. Strategic Emotion in Negotiation: Cognition, Emotion, and Culture
9. Personality and Self-Esteem in Social Interaction
10. Methodological Approaches in Human Communication: From Complexity of Perceived Situation to Data Analysis Personality and Self-Esteem in Social Interaction 11. Multimodal Temporal Patterns for the Analysis of User’s Involvement in Affective Interaction with Virtual Agents 12. Communication and Interaction in Multiplayer First-Person-Shooter Games 13. Communication and Experience in Clinical Psychology and Neurorehabilitation: The Use of Virtual Reality Driving Simulators 14. Learning Communication Skills through Computer-based Interactive Simulations Alessia AGLIATI, Ph.D. M. Teresa ANGUERA, Ph.D. Rita CICERI, Ph.D. Carlos COELHO, Ph.D. Linda CONFALONIERI, M.S. Trevor J. HINE, Ph.D. Conrad IZQUIERDO, Ph.D. Gudberg K. JONSSON, Ph.D. Magnus S. MAGNUSSON, Ph.D. Fabrizia MANTOVANI, Ph.D. Henry J. MOLLER, M.D. Marcello MORTILLARO, M.S. Olivia REALDON, M.S. Giuseppe RIVA, Ph.D. Michael E. ROLOFF, Ph.D. Jennifer G. TICHON, Ph.D. Antonietta VESCOVO, M.S. Guy M. WALLIS, Ph.D. Eva L. WATERWORTH, Ph.D. John A. WATERWORTH, Ph.D. Brenda K. WIEDERHOLD, Ph.D. Mark WIEDERHOLD, M.D., Ph.D. Valentino ZURLONI, Ph.D.
11. Multimodal Temporal Patterns for the Analysis of User’s Involvement in Affective Interaction with Virtual Agents
12. Communication and Interaction in Multiplayer First-Person-Shooter Games
13. Communication and Experience in Clinical Psychology and Neurorehabilitation: The Use of Virtual Reality Driving Simulators
14. Learning Communication Skills through Computer-based Interactive Simulations
Alessia AGLIATI, Ph.D.
M. Teresa ANGUERA, Ph.D.
Rita CICERI, Ph.D.
Carlos COELHO, Ph.D.
Linda CONFALONIERI, M.S.
Trevor J. HINE, Ph.D.
Conrad IZQUIERDO, Ph.D.
Gudberg K. JONSSON, Ph.D.
Magnus S. MAGNUSSON, Ph.D.
Fabrizia MANTOVANI, Ph.D.
Henry J. MOLLER, M.D.
Marcello MORTILLARO, M.S.
Olivia REALDON, M.S.
Giuseppe RIVA, Ph.D.
Michael E. ROLOFF, Ph.D.
Jennifer G. TICHON, Ph.D.
Antonietta VESCOVO, M.S.
Guy M. WALLIS, Ph.D.
Eva L. WATERWORTH, Ph.D.
John A. WATERWORTH, Ph.D.
Brenda K. WIEDERHOLD, Ph.D.
Mark WIEDERHOLD, M.D., Ph.D.
Valentino ZURLONI, Ph.D.