Digital Creativity Labs Lecture Series

2:30pm - 3:30pm, Tue 19th February 2019


Playfulness: A surprising state of mind

These days, theories of prediction error minimization are en vogue across psychology, neuroscience, or artificial intelligence. Here, cognition seems to be about control: of events, hidden causes, environments, and many things in between. However, certain classes of activities, which could loosely be characterised as playful, seems to open up a very different terrain. They appear to involve letting go of control, to let processes, materials and collaborators do ‘their’ thing, and in and through that create unexpected trajectories. We have recently explored a number of such activities involving unusual research tools, like Ouija boards, Lego bricks, and haunted houses. I will describe some of these experiments, drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods, to explore emergent dynamics of play-like activities. This will allow to explore whether playfulness is a surprising state of mind.


Andreas Roepstorff is a Professor of Cognition, Communication and Culture in the departments of Culture and Society and Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University (Denmark). He works at the interface between anthropology, cognitive science, and neuroscience, and is equally interested in the workings of the mind and brain, and in how cognitive science and brain imaging, as fields of knowledge production, relate to other scientific and public fields. He is the director of the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University and is involved in a number of transdisciplinary collaborations, focusing on aspects of human interaction. Most recently, he won a major grant to work with renown artist Olafur Eliasson to create engaging experiments on perception, decision-making, action, and collaboration in public spaces.

Attendance is free, no registration required.