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While on court, beach volleyball players need to act as a whole in order to prevent the ball from touching the sand: in a fraction of a second - just before the opponent's hand spikes the ball - the passer has to predict and adjust to the attacker's action as well as to their teammate's block position. Thanks to her Consolidator Grant, cognitive science professor Natalie Sebanz is studying the cognitive and psychological mechanisms underlying joint action expertise – in other words, how individuals learn skilled actions, such as those performed by professional athletes, together.
The Theory of Mind - the ability to understand that others may have thoughts, beliefs, desires, and intentions different from ours - develops in early childhood and is considered as a key process to explain our social interactions. How do children acquire this ability? What are the cognitive and brain mechanisms that allow human beings to learn from others, to predict their behaviour and to communicate with them? These are some of the questions Dr Agnes Melinda Kovacs addresses, thanks to an ERC grant, in her laboratory in Budapest.
The peoples of the Balkans' region have long shared an "entangled" and tumultuous history. A visit to the Western Balkans shows how deep the scars of the bloodsheds of the 1990s have been in this part of the world. The scale of violence has exceeded our common understanding with human rights' abuses, massacres, torture, rapes and ethnic cleansing from all sides. With such context in mind, one would have thought that Balkan history could have been studied from a "relational" or "transnational" perspective, to which it seems historically predisposed. But this has rarely been the case.