Dynamic Coupling and the breakdown of Social Cognition
In their paper, Froese & Di Paolo make reference to two opposing people successfully walking past each other in a narrow corridor as social cognition arising as an outcome to a conflict. Initially, the two people (individual interactors) are moving towards each other and mirror each others' movements. In doing so, they both create a symmetrical coordinated relation, which results in them likely mirroring each other's movements further, each shifting to the left or right, getting in each other's way and resulting in a temporary impasse. Even though each of the interactors wish to progress down the corridor, this is prevented due to the emerging coordination patterns at the inter-individual level. It is only when the two agents truly become aware of each other and their actions that a resolution to the impasse can arise. Then they take control of the situation and successfully manoeuvre past each other. The constraining impact of the autonomous interaction process is thereby finally overcome by being transformed into a social interaction during which it can be jointly resolved.