Welcome to the Symbolic Cognition and Interaction (SCI) Lab website!
The lab is located in the School of Psychological Sciences at Tel Aviv University.
In the broadest terms, we try to understand the psychological processes of knowledge construction; i.e., the mechanisms whereby humans understand and predict their reality.
As described by Berger and Luckman (1966), "The man in the street inhabits a world that is 'real' to him, albeit in different degrees, and he 'knows', with different degrees of confidence, that this world possesses such and such characteristics." Research in our lab tries to understand how this knowledge is formed, across many different domains:
We are interested in the construction of knowledge about the self (e.g., the self-concept) and the social world (e.g., ideology); one's personal past (e.g., autobiographical memory) and about the future of the world (e.g., geopolitical forecasting)--as well as in the formation of beliefs about the significance of events (e.g., emotional appraisal).
It seems that most of our knowledge comes from the social world. Specifically, human knowledge is stored in a rich system of symbols, created by human minds. To interact with this system, we rely on our "symbolic cognition": the ability to use language to instruct imagination and to take the perspective of others (i.e., mentalizing). In our lab, we study these cognitive capacities and how they take part in the processes of knowledge construction. This is why the lab is called the Symbolic Cognition and Symbolic Interaction lab.
We make use of behavioral paradigms, neuroimaging (fMRI), and data science methods (e.g., use of big-data and machine learning), with a special emphasis on Natural Language Processing methods.
The lab is located in the Sharet Bldg. room 206.