Project "Verbal and communicative displays of understanding in talk-in-interaction"

Subproject: Multimodal practices in documenting/displaying understanding

This subproject focuses on interpretative procedures and displays of understanding in interaction as analyzable, multimodally constituted, and interactionally relevant empirical activities. In the course of interaction participants are continuously engaged in the online analysis of the ongoing activities. They display their understanding of each other's behavior using the entire range of expressive modalities (speech, gaze, facial and proxemic expression as well as gesticulation). The project's theoretical points of reference are conversation analysis, ethnomethodology, and insights from the early work of context analysis. Its aim is an empirically based contribution to the development of a theory of interaction which tries to model the multimodal complexity of interactive exchange. Methodically the project aims at developping procedures which are appropriate to analyze the complex relationship between verbal and so-called non-verbal modalities on the basis of video-recorded data. The project deals with questions concerning
  1. the coordination, sequentiality, and substitutability of semiotic modalities,
  2. the contextualization of verbal utterances by non-verbal action,
  3. the importance of space both as a condition and resource for the constitution of interaction order.
The video data include different social situations such as class-room interaction, project meetings, church service, cooperation at the film set, and training sessions at a fitness center. contact: Dr. Reinhold Schmitt, reinhold.schmitt(at)