TiCC - Tilburg center for Cognition and Communication

Tilburg center for Cognition and Communication

We study how people communicate with each other and how computer systems can be taught to communicate with us.

Communication is essential, both in social and organizational settings. We need communication, for example, to exchange information with our conversation partners, or to persuade them (not) to do something. We also rely on communication to express our identities, thoughts and feelings, and to understand those of others. Language is a key cognitive skill in this process. We use language in our face-to-face interactions, and support it by appropriate non-verbal behaviors such as facial expressions and gestures. We call on language when we engage in a broad range of computer- mediated interactions, and increasingly also for human-machine interactions. Language and digital media, both separate and in interaction, thus play a central role in the various communicative processes that feature in our contemporary society.

How do these communicative processes work? How do we express and process information in different modalities, ranging from speech and gesture to text, (moving) image and digital cue systems? How does our brain understand and produce these communicative signals? What makes a good communicator, and why do some communication styles match certain contexts better than others? In what ways does face-to-face communication differ from computer-mediated communication? Can we design new digital tools to support deficiencies in communication or to empower patients in health communication, and how can we evaluate whether such tools are actually useful and usable? Can we teach advanced communication skills to the robots that are entering our society? What impact does this have, on individual users and organizations, and on society as a whole?

The Tilburg center for Cognition and Communication (TiCC) provides answers to these and other questions, by exploring cognitive and social aspects of human communication through a multidisciplinary and multi-method approach, combining carefully designed experiments with survey methods, corpus analyses, computational modelling, and digital ethnographic methods. Core research topics include communication & technology, cross-cultural communication, information visualization, language production & understanding, non-verbal communication, and organizational communication.

Our research is partly funded through external research grants, awarded both by Dutch (The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, NWO) as well as European (ERC, H2020) funding organizations. We collaborate with a broad and international range of universities and research centers as well as companies and non-profit organizations.

Social robot helps teaching toddlers a second language

In cooperation with a consortium of European universities and companies, researchers at TiCC are developing a social robot that is designed to interact naturally with young children to help them learn English or Dutch. 

'Fons Maes on climate change researchers and their message'