Human Interactions in Complex Environments

2009-01 till 2012-10
Research Areas: 

Project Motto: "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us" © Sir Winston Churchill HICE explores mathematical and empirical backgrounds of how a communicative tension between the efforts of sending and receiving agents is solved in complex environments by using a cooperative strategy. The new rules for how people move, communicate, and behave can be created by spatial organization of a surrounding place, syntactic organization of communications, tonal organization of music, prosodic organization of speech, choreography of a body language. We address these rules and study how the imposed structures govern human interactions.

Methods and Research Questions: 

While in complex environments, the communication economy at information richness is achieved by minimizing the divergence between code configurations at successive time steps that maintains information certainty and structural intelligibility. How does our communication change through interactions in complex environments, thus evolving to ever new forms and structures? The profound link between action and perception in multimodal human communication can be addressed using mathematical communication theory, studying the modes of signal transmission, reception, and processing. Music, language, and movement patterns have sets of rules (crucial for establishing efficient communication) that govern which particular combinations of sounds, letters, and choremes may or may not have a meaning. These rules maintained by everyday interactions are changed while in complex environments to solve the communicative tension between agents, as external conditions change. In particular, cities are the ever largest and most complex editors of human interactions that cause chief social and economic impacts on the lives of not only the present inhabitants, but also for generations to come. Build environments constrain our visual space thus limiting our space perception to the immediate vicinities and structuring a field of possible actions in that. By spatial organization of a surrounding place, we can create new rules for how the neighborhoods are combined together into a strongly inhomogeneous network providing space where people can move and provoking their chance encounters and interactions. Starting with an empirical study on multimodal human communication, we develop models describing how they are shaped up by perpetually variable environments. The relationship between micro- and macroscopic aspects of multimodal human communication are studied by integrating insights from cognitive sciences, communication theory, and the theory of networks. With the use of Markov chains, we study topology of compact urban patterns and built environments which provide an interface for our everyday interactions, as being the ever biggest communication editor that determines not only our present social and economic wellbeing but for those generations to come. The methods of dimensionality reduction and data geometrization are used for the analysis of written texts, recorded body movements, music, or other data related to verbal and non-verbal communication to obtain categories for identifying modes of evolution of communication processes and constructing (hierarchical and non-hierarchical) taxonomy for languages, dialects, personal styles, and other “signatures” of communication. In pursuing the aim to understand how well-structured forms of our communication are not only being kept in "place and working order" through the everyday interactions, but change continuously through these interactions in complex environments, we give emphasis to the physical interpretation of the detected semantic components and their link with known informational, biomechanical, and cognitive models in language, music, and motor control in humans.


The expected outcome of the HICE project is an interdisciplinary approach to the evolution of multimodal communication in complex environments, including (i) the analysis of data encoding complex relationships between individual blocks of communication; (ii) the implementation of various agglomerative clustering techniques to get the simplified representations of the data set lacking a standard metric, and (iii) the design and analysis of reliable models that might give interpretations to the semantic components identified on the previous stages. Additional specific outcomes of the project are (1) the corpora of empirical data on multimodal human communication; (2) the robust recommendation engines for appreciating and predicting the taste of customers that might have an immense economic value for the Internet based economy; (3) the robust recommendation engines for urban planning and environmental design essential for conferring knowledge and experiences, the vital issue of human sustainability; (4) the new communication design provoking a response in social behavior resulting in the development of norms and customs and everyday interaction between people.