IPrA Conference 2023 Panel: “Convergent and divergent information in multimodal and multisensorial communication”

IPrA Conference 2023, July 9–14, in Brussels
Call for Papers
Deadline for submission: November 8, 2022
Convergent and divergent information in multimodal and multisensorial

Organized by: Paul Bouissac, Theo van Leeuwen, Ellen Fricke

Research in multimodality has studied the ways in which congruency is achieved through the functional or “appropriate” combination of various modalities and information channels converging toward intended pragmatic goals. In artifactual multimodal messages such as television advertisements or personal profiles on line, the combination of multimodal information is designed in a way that ensures convergency and congruency as a semiotic and rhetorical strategy (e.g., Hiippala 2016). However, in natural social interactions and in the interpretation of multimodal environmental phenomena convergency and congruency cannot be taken for granted. There are many cases in which different channels convey dissonant, discrepant , or even contradictory information. Research on the social meaning of the smile, for instance, has drawn attention to the differences between genuine and contrived smiles based on the analysis of divergent facial information that can be observed in face to face conversations in combination with verbal utterances. [In scientific inquiry, observed lacks of congruency in multimodal data prompt experiments designed to account for the truth of counterintuitive knowledge that can be defined as trans-modal]. The theoretical approach proposed in this panel will aim at developing a theory of dysfunctional multimodal communication such as identifying mismatches and discrepancies between functional design and identity design (e.g., van Leeuwen 2022); the forensics of failed marketing strategies, political campaigns, or software projects (e.g., Kaisler, Money, and Cohen 2021); and the potential undermining of multimodal rhetoric by the interfering power of discrepant visual, acoustic, haptic, and olfactory signals. This may apply also to human-machine interaction and the different sensors used in hybrid group settings. To address some aspects of these pragmatic dysfunctionalities, it is necessary to take into consideration not only cultural constraints and their social semiotics dimensions but also the relative weight in human interactions of signals that have evolved in staggered manner over evolutionary time and variously impact decision making. Sensitivity to contact and to various molecules in the proximal or distal environment, or the processing of acoustic input predate the emergence of vision as a comparatively recent adaptation. Along the same logic, we may ask whether images are bound to override the power of words either spoken or written. Both social semiotics considerations and evolutionary theoretical perspective could help design experiments to investigate how the interplay of multimodality and multisensorial information are negotiated in human interactions. This panel will accept both theoretical papers and case studies.

Upon abstract submission to the IPrA website, please indicate the panel your submission is intended for. Abstracts should be 250-500 words long. The deadline for abstract submission is November 8, 2022.

Further information is provided by the conference guidelines for submission:

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