Naomi Nota

Naomi is a PhD student in the Communication in Social Interaction (or "CoSI", for short) Department based at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics as well as the Donders Centre for Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University.

She is investigating the influence of visual bodily signals (such as eye gaze, facial expressions, or gestures) on language processing in face-to-face interaction. Her aim is to explore the bigger picture of what constitutes human communication by studying language processing in a conversational and multimodal interaction context. She grew up in France, and majored in Linguistics at Leiden University. She spent a year as a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics before starting with her PhD in 2019.

She is also an avid drawer, and enjoys doing outdoor activities such as climbing (although in the Netherlands it is usually restricted to indoor climbing or bouldering!).

A glimpse of Alex Titus’ life as a doctoral researcher

A visit to the Saturday food market in the city is an ordinary event. Interestingly, even something so ordinary includes the coordination of many simultaneous activities. For example, a market shopper might be talking on the phone to their international friend in English while searching for the most appetizing fruits and vegetables, maneuvering themselves through the crowd, taking out their wallet, and asking to pay in Dutch. The reason that we can juggle between all these activities so effortlessly is because the brain knows these familiar settings, making it easier to predict what is about to come. But how exactly does our brain manage to do it? This is exactly what Alex Titus is investigating as part of his doctoral research at Radboud University.

Talking bodies

People use their bodies when they talk—a lot. For example, we change our posture, move our head, gesture with our arms and hands, and use facial expressions to convey different things. In other words, visual signals form an essential part of human communication, at least in many cultures.

Creating androids that dream of electric sheep

It is the year 2049. We now co-exist with artificial intelligence. Human-like agents are completely integrated into our society and work regular jobs. They act and look fully human. Like in the dystopian movie ‘Blade Runner’, inspired by Philip K. Dick’s novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, or the more recent TV series ‘Westworld’, the humanoids can imitate all the outward signals we attribute to consciousness, and appear entirely self-aware. In other words, we have reached the point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization.

To put a (fake) smile on one’s face

Spotting a fake smile can be more difficult than you think. Although humans are wired to be social, most people are actually surprisingly bad at recognizing whether a smile is authentic.

Zooming out during your video calls?

Imagine your laptop screen keeps freezing, the video of your friend or colleague suddenly lags and their speech sounds like a robot. You want to talk, but you are not sure about when to start your turn in conversation. There is an awkward silence. The screen turns black.