Cognitive Processing

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 187–205 | Cite as

A model for production, perception, and acquisition of actions in face-to-face communication

  • Bernd J. KrögerEmail author
  • Stefan Kopp
  • Anja Lowit


The concept of action as basic motor control unit for goal-directed movement behavior has been used primarily for private or non-communicative actions like walking, reaching, or grasping. In this paper, literature is reviewed indicating that this concept can also be used in all domains of face-to-face communication like speech, co-verbal facial expression, and co-verbal gesturing. Three domain-specific types of actions, i.e. speech actions, facial actions, and hand-arm actions, are defined in this paper and a model is proposed that elucidates the underlying biological mechanisms of action production, action perception, and action acquisition in all domains of face-to-face communication. This model can be used as theoretical framework for empirical analysis or simulation with embodied conversational agents, and thus for advanced human–computer interaction technologies.


Face-to-face communication Speech Co-verbal behavior Action Facial expression Hand-arm gesture Production Motor behavior Multimodal perception Acquisition of action Embodied conversational agents Human–computer interaction 



This work was supported in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Project Nr. Kr 1439/13-1 and project Nr. Kr 1439/15-1, and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in SFB 673 “Alignment in Communication” and the Center of Excellence “Cognitive Interaction Technology” (CITEC).


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Phoniatrics, Pedaudiology, and Communication DisordersUniversity Hospital Aachen and RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Sociable Agents Group, Center of Excellence “Cognitive Interaction Technology”Bielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  3. 3.Speech and Language Therapy Division, Department of Educational and Professional StudiesUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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