Perception is not just individual – it is often shared. We go with friends to choose a wedding dress or visit our future flat ; we discuss whether the food needs more salt ; doctors jointly scrutinise radiographies to look for tumours : pilots and engineers monitor the working of planes and plants together. Another pair of eyes or ears is often useful, and often present. This fact is also ubiquitous across cultures and ages: hunters-gatherers track prey together, nomads orient themselves across deserts as a group, and infants’ first sensory experiences are framed by care-givers.
Despite its prevalence, the collective nature of perception is often taken for granted and has not been thoroughly explored in fields like philosophy and cognitive neuroscience. The traditional separation of evidence from one’s own senses versus the testimony coming from others is challenged by collective perception, which combines both.
Co-Sense will examine the benefits of perceiving together and improve collective experiences. The study of collective perception has the potential to expand on findings in animal cognition and collective intelligence, which have shown that combining individual decisions can lead to more accurate outcomes.
The project is supported by the Momentum program from the Volkswagen Foundation, and broadens the existing research and expertise of the Chair, with new dual-EEG and multisensory labs, collaborations and research facilities.