Coupling Cognitive Expectations and Anticipations in Dialogue (as Based on Russian Mother-Child Interaction)

Avant, Vol. XII, No. 1,
published under license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Anastasia Vladimirovna Kolmogorova orcid-id
Siberian Federal University
Russian Federation

Received 11 July 2020; accepted 30 January 2021; published 16 September 2021.
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Abstract: The paper deals with the problem of how mothers and their babies use multi-scalar temporalities to couple their cognitive activity while interacting. Assuming that everyday communication is based on the coordinated behavior of two or more agents, I argue that the crucial cognitive principle which enables such coordination is the overlapping of cognitive expectations and cognitive anticipations performed by interacting people. To address the problem of the genesis of human capacity to expect and to anticipate the actions of others, I analyze a large corpus of video recordings of Russian mothers speaking and playing with their babies from 0 to 4 years old. Being applied to the video data, the method of Cognitive Event Analysis, supported by the use of Elan software, has showed that the baby learns to adjust their vocalizations, gestures, gazes and movements to how a caregiver’s activity is directed to the infant from very early on. The multi-scalar perspective in analysis helped to degage “cognitive event pivots” in such interactions—the moments which divide the interaction into two parts: that of before and after. Seeking to attune their behavior to the mother’s, the baby tries to imitate it mimetically. If they succeed, they both feel the satisfaction of understanding, which anchors such a “valuable” cognitive result in child cognitive experience. The research led to the conclusion that, while communicating, a mother-child dyad forms two brain-body systems whose coupling amalgamates in the moment and results in distributed cognition achievements.

Keywords: dialogue; mother-child interaction; distributed cognition; cognitive dynamics; multi-scalarity; everyday communication


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