Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "Choice awareness and manipulation" (Alexandra Mouratidou, LU)
Alexandra will present this practice talk for her plenary lecture (with only minimal help from me) in the conference on Visual Semiotics at the end of the month: https://aisviavs.wordpress.com/aisv-iavs-2023/ Please join us on this occasion, in the room or on zoom, to give us some valuable feedback! As usual, the talk will start at 15:15, but join us from 3pm, especially if you are using the link.
We investigated choice awareness and manipulation detection in a series of choice manipulation experiments using pictures of human faces and abstract figures. The core characteristic of such experiments is that participants are first asked to choose from pairs of photographs the ones they prefer, and then to justify their choice, without knowing that some of the picture pairs are manipulated (i.e., by deliberately asking them to justify their non-preferred alternative, often discussed in the literature as “choice blindness” (e.g., Johansson et al., 2005). The first study (Mouratidou, 2020) examines memory, affectivity and consequence as potential factors influencing manipulation detection. The second study (Mouratidou et al., 2022) investigates whether the “mattering” or meaningfulness of a choice in an act of choice making affects manipulation detection. Acknowledging the relationship between pre-verbal consciousness and language, we make a distinction between pre-verbal and verbal choice investment. The third study (Mouratidou et al., in progress) expands into including non-verbal semiotic systems as indicative of choice awareness and investment. The analysis focused on participants’ polysemiotic utterances, consisting of (a) verbal, (b) gestural and (c) other bodily signals, which involve different degrees of awareness both from the producer’s and the interpreter’s side. We argue that our research is relevant with the ongoing debate on the reliability and use of first-person reports (Varela & Shear, 1999; Jack & Roepstorff, 2003; 2004; Overgaard, 2006; Petitmengin, 2009a, 2011; Weisberg, 2011) and contributes to a body of research against the limits and fallibility of introspective reports and conscious experience.