TESIS — Towards an Embodied Science of InterSubjectivity — is an integrated Marie-Curie ITN programme to investigate the foundations of human sociality. It brings together the complementary expertise of 13 European research institutes, clinical centres and private enterprises that span the biomedical sciences and the humanities. Thus, TESIS provides critical mass in the fields of philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, psychiatry and societal outreach.

The network will advance our understanding of human intersubjectivity based on the following research and training objectives:

(1) To investigate the neural underpinnings of affective exchange with others, of shared action spaces and joint object relations, endorsing a novel interactive embodied neuroscience;

(2) To investigate the development of social skills in infants in the context of the awareness of others during interaction, yielding an interactive concept of embodied social cognition;

(3) To investigate the inter-subjective factors affecting psychopathologies, especially schizophrenia, autism and somatoform disorders and to draw implications for treatment;

(4) To investigate in toddlers and young children the understanding of toys, objects and cultural artefacts and the links between materiality and sociality;

(5) To investigate cultural interactive patterns and shared practices such as group learning, playing, teamwork, distributed cognition, creating applied knowledge for education, management, and organizational development.

By integrating state of the art and novel approaches to studying interactive situations, TESIS will significantly extend the individualistic and static paradigm still dominant in social cognition research. The major breakthrough to be expected from TESIS is a comprehensive framework for embodied inter-subjectivity applicable in the biomedical sciences, the humanities, and society in general, showing how we become human by embodied interaction with others from the beginning.

Contact: waltraud.werkmann@med.uni-heidelberg.de