Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 355–373 | Cite as

Shared Emotions and Joint Action

  • John MichaelEmail author
Joint Action: What is Shared?


In recent years, several minimalist accounts of joint action have been offered (e.g. Tollefsen Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35:75–97, 2005; Sebanz et al. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(6): 234–1246, 2006; Vesper et al. Neural Networks 23 (8/9): 998–1003, 2010), which seek to address some of the shortcomings of classical accounts. Minimalist accounts seek to reduce the cognitive complexity demanded by classical accounts either by leaving out shared intentions or by characterizing them in a way that does not demand common knowledge of complex, interconnected structures of intentions. Moreover, they propose models of the actual factors facilitating online coordination of movements. The present proposal aims to enrich a minimalist framework by showing how shared emotions can facilitate coordination without presupposing common knowledge of complex, interconnected structures of intentions. Shared emotions are defined for the purposes of this paper as affective states that fulfill two minimal criteria: (a) they are expressed (verbally or otherwise) by one person; and (b) the expression is perceived (consciously or unconsciously) by another person. Various ways in which the fulfillment of (a) and (b) can lead to effects that function as coordinating factors in joint action are distinguished and discussed.


Joint Action Affective State Emotional Expression Joint Attention Shared Intention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank everyone involved with the workshop “Shared emotions, joint attention, joint action” (Aarhus, 26th October 2010), without which this paper would not have been written—especially Anika Fiebich, Albert Newen, Andreas Roepstorff and Lars-Henrik Schmidt for making that event possible. I would also like to thank Steve Butterfill and one anonymous reviewer for very helpful comments, which greatly improved the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, GNOSIS Research CentreAarhus UniversityCopenhagenDenmark

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