Mutual understanding

How Minds Meet · A Scientific Approach


Communication is often explained in terms of sending and receiving messages, presupposing that communicators already share the same set of rules for inserting and extracting meaning from those messages. This may hold true in the animal world, where a South African honeybee signaling the location of a flowerpatch would be immediately understood in a New Zeeland beehive. Human communication is different, however. We employ our everyday words and gestures in virtually infinite ways, frequently in a vague or non-literal manner. Our conversation partner can usually grasp the intended meaning of our utterance at its first occurrence, thanks to its context of use in an ongoing interaction. The research outlined on this website is concerned with understanding this context and how it determines the meaning of an utterance. The overarching goal is to characterize a fundamental and evolutionarily unique ability of our species, and open the way for understanding and treating disorders of human communication such as seen in autism spectrum disorder.


Game

Crack the vault together and help autism research

Education

Communication research in the classroom

Research

Scientific studies of human communication

Team

Researchers investigating human communication


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